BDW: "Carles Puigdemont is my friend"

Speculation that the deposed leader of the Catalan people was invited to Belgium has led journalists to quiz Flemish nationalist president Bart De Wever about his ties with Mr Puigdemont. The man who doubles as the Mayor of Antwerp told VTM News that Mr Puigdemont "is a friend and friends are always welcome."

Bart De Wever: "It's a complicated situation. We all know that we have close ties to many parties in movement. We do not wish to fan the flames, but we're not letting friends down. I never do that. I never turn my back on a friend, even when he is in a difficult position."

Questioned about whether the Catalan prime minister would be welcome if he applied for political asylum in Belgium, Mr De Wever responded by saying: "He's a friend and friends are always welcome."

Mr De Wever added: "I fear that the Spanish PM Rajoy played a very cynical game employing violence against his own people. He corned the Catalan people and that was his intention."