Politics 18/02/2021

European Parliament's rapporteur calls for lifting Carles Puigdemont's immunity

The Legal Affairs Committee will vote on the proposal next Tuesday

3 min
Puigdemont questions that the C's MEP who chairs the committee of the suplicatori respects confidentiality

BrusselsThe European Parliament's rapporteur will seek to withdraw pro-independence JxCat MEPs' parliamentary immunity so that the legal process of their extradition can continue, reports Abc newspaper and parliamentary sources have been confirmed to ARA. Therefore, the report to be presented next week in the Legal Affairs Committee (Jure) by the ultraconservative Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki will request parliamentary immunity is withdrawn for Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí

Jure committee members received the report with the rapporteur's proposal yesterday and will vote on it next week after debating it. The debate will be on Monday and the vote on Tuesday. Once it has been voted on by the members of this committee, it will be sent to the next plenary session of the European Parliament to be voted on by all MEPs, probably at the beginning of March, thus concluding a long process that has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The three MEPs appeared now a month ago before the members of this committee to present their allegations in a day that became a scuffle between the PP and Cs and pro-independence MEPs around the confidentiality of the whole process. After the hearing, the People's Party MEP Esteban González Pons revealed that inside the room there was a debate on the competence of the Supreme Court in the issuance of the European arrest warrant, one of the main arguments used by the pro-independence supporters to request that the request not be granted and that they saw reinforced by the refusal of the Belgian justice to extradite the ex conseller Lluís Puig.

The confidentiality of the process

Before the three Catalan MEPs appeared before the committee, its president, Cs MEP Adrián Vázquez, stated that Puig's case "had nothing to do" with that of the MEPs, and Puigdemont accused him of violating the rules of process's confidentiality, which he flatly denied.

In fact, the report is not yet public and that it has been leaked to the media before being voted on by the committee, which does imply a breach of confidentiality of the process. Vázquez, who from the beginning insisted on the commitment to maintain a request with all the guarantees and rigor, does not rule out taking action if he finds out how the content has been leaked. Junts has already stated that they will present a complaint to Sassoli, as has already been presented on two occasions for statements made by Vázquez in addition to a complaint submitted to Jure in relation to the statements made by González Pons. Carles Puigdemont himself has tweeted this Thursday a warning of the publication of the contents of the report.

That the rapporteur's report would go along these lines was almost taken for granted because the vast majority of the requests are in favor of lifting the immunity of the MEPs concerned. The rapporteur of the report is from the same parliamentary group as Vox, but also as the N-VA, the Flemish nationalists who are the main sponsors of the exiled pro-independence activists in Belgium. Following the same principle, the result of the vote can also be anticipated if one takes into account that the MEPs of the PP, Cs, PSOE and Vox constitute the majority. On Wednesday, however, the president of the Socialist group, Iratxe García, refused to anticipate in which direction her vote would go.She simply insisted that the PSOE defends "respect for the rule of law" and that he was waiting for the report to be presented

In January, Gonzalez Pons was already convinced that "there is a broad majority within the committee in favor of granting the suspension of immunity, because it is not a political trial." The facts are not related to their status as members of the European Parliament," added the popular parliamentarian, "and the other pro-independence party is a preferred partner of the government of Spain, so it seems very obvious to me that there is no persecution and that we must process the request of the Supreme Court".

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