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Decision on Puigdemont ‘absolutely right,’ says German minister

Spanish Foreign Affairs minister condemn comments as "unfortunate"

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07 April 2018 02:55 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Germany’s justice minister, Katarina Barley, says the Schleswig-Holstein court’s decision on Carles Puigdemont’s release is “absolutely right.” In an unexpected blow to the Spanish judiciary, the regional court rejected the charges of rebellion against the deposed Catalan president on Thursday, and let him go free on bail while deciding on his extradition to Spain.

“The decision of the judges in Schleswig is absolutely right,” said Barley in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, and added that she was indeed expecting them to decide this way.

The court is now to determine whether to accept Spain’s European Arrest Warrant or not. Having dismissed the crime of rebellion, the only offence that could prompt Puigdemont’s extradition is that of misuse of public funds. According to Barley, “it won’t be easy” for Spain to prove it.

  • “It does not make sense that the highest court in a EU member state issues an European Arrest Warrant, and then a regional court in another EU country can overturn it"

    Xavier García Albiol · PP leader in Catalonia

Barley’s statements sparked outrage among members of Spain’s ruling People’s Party (PP). The foreign affairs minister Alfonso Dastis dismissed them as “unfortunate,” and said that “commenting on judges’ decisions is not the most appropriate thing to do at the moment.”

Barley is a member of the German Social Democrats (SPD), the second largest party in the Bundestag and the main partners of Angela Merkel and the Christian Democrats (CDU) in the executive.

The Spanish president Mariano Rajoy said that he is not planning to talk with Merkel about Puigdemont’s extradition, alleging that this is an “absolutely judicial” case “concerning only courts.” “This is what the separation of powers is about, and governments do not intervene here,” he said.

PP’s leader in Catalonia, Xavier García Albiol, warned that the Schleswig-Holstein court decision could undermine the Spanish citizens’ trust in the European Union, and called for a reform of the extradition mechanism.

“It does not make sense that the highest court in a EU member state issues an European Arrest Warrant, and then a regional court in another EU country can overturn it,” he said.

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  • Germany's Justice Minister Katarina Barley (third from left) attends the first cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2018 (by REUTERS / Fabrizio Bensch)

  • Germany's Justice Minister Katarina Barley (third from left) attends the first cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2018 (by REUTERS / Fabrizio Bensch)