Catalonia’s Raül Romeva named ‘spitzenkandidat’ for EFA in 2024 EU election

European party believes that Esquerra politician, who spent over 3 years in jail, represents ‘democratic values’

Several officials of EFA in Strasbourg, including Maylis Rosberg and Raül Romeva
Several officials of EFA in Strasbourg, including Maylis Rosberg and Raül Romeva / Marta Vidal

ACN | @agenciaacn | Strasbourg

October 14, 2023 02:55 PM

Raül Romeva, one of the most senior politicians in pro-independence Esquerra party, will be one of the two 'spitzenkandidaten' for the European Free Alliance (EFA) in the June 2024 EU parliament election.

The European political group encompasses regionalist, pro-independence and ethnic minority political parties across the continent, including Esquerra, the Scottish National Party or the party representing the Danish and Frisian minorities in Germany, SSW – all in all, EFA represents around 40 parties.

On Saturday, Romeva was presented as one of the two EFA individuals who will aim for the European Commission presidency after the election, together with SSW's Maylis Rosberg.

The choices are symbolic, as this European group has a very slim chance to end up holding the top Commission post – they obtained 10 seats out of 751 in the 2019 election.

Furthermore, Romeva is still facing a disqualification from any public post as a result of his conviction for his role in the 2017 independence referendum as foreign minister – this means he will not be able to run for MEP, unless the amnesty for all the independence legal cases being discussed in Spain is approved before the election.

In any case, a European Commission president does not necessarily need to be MEP or be named 'spitzenkandidat' in order to be picked.

"We want a Europe of the nations, the peoples, and the languages," he said in Strasbourg, France, on Saturday. "This means that voices not necessarily representing states are heard."

EFA picked him arguing that Romeva represents "democratic values and the determination that Catalonia has the right to a vote."

EFA group is running in the June 2024 vote with the motto 'A European Union for everyone.'

Romeva spent ten years as an MEP between 2004 and 2014, and went on to become Catalan foreign minister in 2016 and until the cabinet he was member of was ousted in October 2017 by Madrid, after the failed independence attempt.

The politician was then imprisoned and convicted for his role in this episode, and was released three and a half years later was Spain pardoned him and the other eight leaders behind bars – yet, the disqualification was not removed for him, and as it stands now, it will last until the end of this decade.

In 2019, EFA's spitzenkandidat was also Esquerra's Oriol Junqueras, who was also in jail at that moment, and who was elected as MEP in the vote – yet, his conviction for the 2017 events prevented him from becoming member of the European Parliament.