Jailed former VP asks European Parliament to let him take up seat
ERC party head Oriol Junqueras argues that chamber's official gazette included him as MEP after election
Catalonia's former vice president, Oriol Junqueras, who is in prison awaiting a verdict in the trial of the pro-independence leaders behind the 2017 bid to split from Spain, has urged the European Parliament to allow him to take up the seat he won in the May 26 election.
The Spanish authorities prevented Junqueras from taking up his seat by leaving his name off the list of MEPs representing Spain, but the leader of the pro-independence Esquerra party (ERC) argues that the EU chamber recognized him as an MEP in its official gazette.
Junqueras appealed to the parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs, asking it to "invite" Spain to recognize the list of MEPs published after the election, as not to do so would create a "legal vacuum" in which EU states could "deviate" from official election results.
The ERC head also called on the committee to declare Spain's requirement that MEPs appear in person to take an oath on the Constitution "contrary" to European law. Junqueras was denied permission to leave prison in order to take the oath.
The request comes while Junqueras waits for a hearing on October 14 in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg on whether he has parliamentary immunity as an MEP even though he has not been able to take up his seat.