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'Mr Junqueras enjoys immunity from declaration of election results'

Take a look at the exact wording the EU court used, without mentioning the current situation of jailed leader

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19 December 2019 11:59 AM

by

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

The Catalan pro-independence jailed leader Oriol Junqueras should have been freed as soon as he was elected MEP on May 26 EU election. This is clear from the wording of the EU court ruling made public on Thursday morning. 

"A person who is elected to the European Parliament acquires the status of Member of Parliament as a result of and from the time of the declaration of the election results, with the result that he enjoys the immunities guaranteed by Article 9 of the Protocol."

Spain included him in the declaration of the election results, but not in the final list of MEPs, because he was not allowed to leave prison and take Spain's constitutional oath, a compulsory step according to Spain's law. Yet, the European Court of Justice says he should have been allowed to take up his seat anyway.  

"The Court noted that, although the electoral procedure and the declaration of the results are, in principle, governed by the law of the Member States, the election of Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage in a free and secret ballot constitutes an expression of the constitutional principle of representative democracy, the scope of which is defined by the EU law itself."

"The status of Member of the European Parliament arises solely from the election of the person concerned and is acquired by virtue of the official declaration of those results by Member States." 

The wording means that as soon as the jailed leader was elected he enjoyed immunity and should have been released and allowed to travel to Strasbourg for the inaugural European Parliament session, on July 2. 

"The persons who, like Mr Junqueras Vies, have been elected MEPs enjoy, from the moment the results are declared, the immunity as regards travel which is attached to their status as MEP."

"The purpose of that immunity is to allow such persons to, inter alia, travel and take part in the inaugural session of the newly elected European Parliament."

"The immunity, as regards travel, granted to every MEP entails lifting any measure of provisional detention imposed prior to the declaration of that Member's election, in order to allow that person to travel to and take part in the inaugural session of the European Parliament."

"Consequently, if the competent national court considers that the measure should be maintained, it must as soon as possible request the European Parliament to waive that immunity."

Yet, this whole ruling is based on the fact that Junqueras was in provisional jail when he was elected, waiting for a verdict. 

The ECJ does not clarify what Spain's Supreme Court should do now, as the pro-independence leader is no longer in provisional jail, but serving a final sentence

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  • President of the European Court of Justice, Koen Lenaerts, reading the conclusions of the Junqueras immunity case (by Natàlia Segura)

  • President of the European Court of Justice, Koen Lenaerts, reading the conclusions of the Junqueras immunity case (by Natàlia Segura)

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