Spanish MEP warns European Arrest Warrant failed to protect Spain against 'coup attempt'
With Germany releasing former Catalan president, PP representative calls again for review of extradition system between member states
Spain's People's party (PP) has again asked the European Commission (EC) to consider reforming the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system, after a German court refused to extradite former president Carles Puigdemont on the grounds of rebellion.
The head of the PP in the European Parliament, Esteban González Pons, claimed on Wednesday that the current EAW system, as a mechanism of cooperation between member states, does not "protect" any EU state against a "coup attempt."
"My country suffered an attempted coup a year ago but the Spanish Supreme Court does not have at its disposal all of those who made the attempt because a regional court in another country denied this possibility," González Pons told the Commission.
"What message are we sending to the Spanish people? That Europe does not protect the Spanish Constitution?" he went on to ask to Jean-Claude Juncker during the plenary session held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Spain's Supreme Court issued a warrant against Puigdemont after he went to Belgium when direct rule was imposed on Catalonia in October. Later arrested in Germany, Spain dropped the EAW in July after a local court decided his extradition was not possible because the crime of rebellion does not exist in German law.
In July, when Puigdemont was allowed to go free and returned to where he had been living in Belgium, González Pons sent a letter to the EC asking for legislative reform "to improve and clarify" how the EAW system works so as to avoid cases like that of Puigdemont.
Specifically, the MEP's letter demanded "a review" of the 32 criminal charges covered by the arrest warrant that allow for an automatic extradition, so as to include "a new category of offense, that of rebellion, actions against the territorial integrity and constitutional framework of a member state."