European Parliament to deny provisionally returning immunity to Puigdemont

EU court will decide whether or not to grant privileges again in order to avoid detentions 

European Parliament president David Sassoli (by Natalia Segura)
European Parliament president David Sassoli (by Natalia Segura) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 11, 2021 11:02 AM

The European Parliament will deny provisionally returning Carles Puigdemont's immunity as MEP, the Catalan News Agency (ACN) has learned.

The chamber has to have its say on the matter by October 15, in advance of the European General Court ruling, but the decision ultimately rests with the court.

In March, three pro-independence exiled leaders including the former Catalan president saw their immunities as MEPs removed by their colleagues in the EU parliament – they appealed the decision before the European General Court saying the rapporteur in their case was not impartial and there was a breach of confidentiality during MEPs' deliberations.

Now the magistrates in Luxembourg have to decide on the issue; on July 30 they provisionally upheld the MEPs' vote. Judges argued that undoing the suspension of their immunity was not necessary as they had not "seen enough probability" that he could be detained anywhere in Europe. 

Indeed, they suggested that the politicians would be able to request their immunity to be provisionally returned again if they were detained at any time – subsequently, Puigdemont made a request after being arrested and detained for a day in Italy in late September.

Before making a decision on his petition, the EU court has given the European Parliament some days to have its say.

Some parliamentary sources have told ACN that the chamber's legal services will side against enabling his privileges again before a final decision by magistrates is made. Thus, they will uphold the plenary vote in March in which 400 MEPs voted in favor of lifting his immunity, while 248 voted against.

This is the latest twist in the four-year saga of the exiled Catalan pro-independence leaders. Have a listen to our recent podcast on the story of Puigdemont and the other exiles since 2017.