The Spanish standoff is already causing problems for the Belgian government led by Prime Minister Charles Michel, who rules in coalition with Flemish separatists sympathetic to the Catalan cause.
Rajoy also called snap elections for December 21 to replace the Catalan parliament in a drastic bid to stop the secessionist drive.
The prime minister has agreed in principle with Pedro Sanchez, leader of the opposition Socialists, on a review of Spain's constitution, and has argued for more devolution on federal lines and greater fiscal autonomy.
But Puigdemont has denied planning to do so and moreover even if he did, the chances of success would seem to be very slight.
The main civic groups behind the pro-independence campaign had called for widespread civil disobedience and said that public-sector workers such as teachers, firefighters and the police should refuse orders from the central authorities.
"Carles Puigdemont is almost certainly coming to Brussels and is said to be on the way", VRT said on its website. An election could help channel the dispute back into the realm of politics.
"The Spanish government was preparing an offensive against the people of Catalonia, calling [on] them to be loyal", Puigdemont said at an emotional Brussels news conference where he spoke in Catalan, Spanish and French.
Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia's ousted president, has fled to Belgium along with other members of his dissolved cabinet right as treasonous charges were laid against them in Spain.
- If charged in Spain, could he claim asylum?
Paul Bakert, a Belgian lawyer acting for Puigdemont told Reuters that the sacked president will seek asylum in Belgium.
The government is predicting "a slight slowdown in domestic demand, as a result of the negative impact of the uncertainty related to the current political situation in Catalonia", it said in mid-October. "I am here in Brussels as the capital of Europe".
Meanwhile, the former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, and five other former members of the Bureau of Parliament must appear in the Spanish High Court on Nov. 2 and 3 for questioning over charges of rebellion, sedition, and the misuse of funds placed against them by the Spanish State Prosecutor's office on Monday.
The researcher recalled that only 43 percent of the electorate took part in the referendum, of which only 38 percent voted for independence.
"I want to say that we are with him".
The atmosphere of rivalry ahead of the elections won't resolve the existing contradictions between Madrid and Barcelona, the political analyst believes.