Carles Puigdemont arrives in majesty at the European Parliament
Correspondent in Brussels
“Hello Strasbourg. Here we are! ” It was with this short message posted on Twitter that Carles Puigdemont wanted to announce, on Monday afternoon, her official arrival at the European Parliament. As expected for a few days following a decision by the EU Court of Justice, the Catalan freelancer has finally taken up his seat in Strasbourg. Just like the other Catalan independence MEP, Toni Comin. The two men, never tried in Spain, are in exile in Belgium. To the chagrin of Madrid, whose extradition requests have so far been unsuccessful.
As should be expected, the two MEPs have no intention whatsoever of playing extras in this institution whose doors had been closed to them a few days after their election last May. “It's a historic day for us” , said Carles Puigdemont in front of the Strasbourg Parliament. Applauded by hundreds of Catalan freelancers and awaited by many Spanish journalists, the two Catalans were treated to star treatment.
Taking advantage of the forum offered to them, they warned and Madrid and the European Union even before entering the institution. Spain “no longer respects the rule of law” denounced Carles Puigdemont. “If the European Union was really a union of rights and freedoms , Oriol Junqueras would be here today “, he also criticized, saying that ” the Catalan crisis has a direct impact on the foundations of the European Union “ and that “it's time for the European Union to commit” .
A soap opera far from over
Oriol Junqueras was sentenced in the fall 2019 to thirteen years in prison and ineligibility for sedition and embezzlement. He is currently serving his sentence in Spain. He was in pre-trial detention when he was elected MEP in May 2019. Spanish justice had not allowed him to take an oath before the Spanish electoral authority. A maneuver intended to deprive him of his mandate as an MEP. At the end of December 2019, the Court of Justice of the EU had however estimated that the quality of member of the European Parliament is acquired .
This decision allowed Carles Puigdemont and Antoni Comin to take their seats in Strasbourg on Monday but did not settle the fate of Oriol Junqueras . Indeed, the Presidency of the European Parliament ended his mandate last week, aligning himself with the position of the Spanish Supreme Court which considers that the conviction in October of Oriol Junqueras “implies the exclusion of the European deputy status recognized by the European Court ”. The decision of the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has set Strasbourg in turmoil.
The soap is far from over because the Spanish Supreme Court has no intention of weakening in his showdown with the other two Catalan separatists. She therefore called on the European Parliament last Friday to deprive Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin of their immunity. For her, the two men must be handed over to the Spanish authorities because of the European arrest warrants launched against them.