Catalonia's sacked president Carles Puigdemont on Monday repeated accusations that the European Union is failing to defend fundamental rights in the wealthy Spanish region.
During his first foreign visit since leaving Spain to live in voluntary exile in Brussels on 30 October, Puigdemont told students at the University of Copenhagen the EU showed "failures" in the face of crises both inside and outside its borders.
"The EU has been a success in promoting freedom, democracy, prosperity and welfare on our continent," he said. "However, we're all aware of each failure every time there is a crisis.
"We saw it in Greece, we saw it in Ukraine, we saw it with the refugees and now we see it with the failure to defend the fundamental rights in Catalonia," he added.
Charged with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, Puigdemont faces arrest if he returns to Spain over his role in the independence drive.
Catalonia's parliament on Monday proposed Puigdemont as president of the region following a snap election in December in which separatist parties once again won an absolute majority.
According to the former leader "Catalan citizens see great concerns on some developments happening around EU institutions".
"We are of course pro-Europeans but we cannot close our eyes for each failure, we want more integration but only if it leads to more democracy and a uniformed application of the EU law in all member states."