Catalonia's leaders have sought safety in Brussels as they face criminal charges for spearheading the region's independence movement, throwing up a potentially awkward situation between Belgium, the EU and Spain.
Deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and several members of his pro-independence administration traveled to Brussels in Belgium on Monday and hired a lawyer, fueling speculation that they could try to seek asylum there in order to avoid possible prison sentences for trying to secede from Spain.
Puigdemont appeared before the press in Brussels Tuesday, however, and said he was not in the country to claim asylum but wanted to bring the Catalan issue to "the heart of the European Union (EU)."
The EU has previously refused to mediate between Spain and Catalonia and has firmly sided with Madrid.
Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert confirmed he has taken on Puigdemont as a client, according to Reuters, but said he was only providing Puigdemont with advice at that point. Paul Bekaert was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.