Puigdemont and Comín withdraw their petitions to join European Greens

The exiled former Catalan president cited “serious discrepancies” within the group regarding their application

MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín in Strasbourg on January 15, 2020 (European Parliament)
MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín in Strasbourg on January 15, 2020 (European Parliament) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 29, 2020 10:31 AM

MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín withdrew their request to join the European Greens group in the European Parliament. 

In a letter to the group's co-leaders, Ska Keller and Philippe Lamberts, Puigdemont and Comín cite their reasoning being the "serious discrepancies" within their group regarding their application to join. 

"The last thing we want to do is join a group after a process that could have caused serious disagreements between some of its members, and that our acceptance would be an element of discord in a political space that we feel very close to," the text read. 

They also pointed out that the removal of their candidacy to join the continental party "is in no case a rejection of the political project" of the Greens-European Free Alliance.

After ERC, who form a part of the Greens-EFA, opened the door to Puigdemont and Comín potentially joining the group, the entry of the two MEPs together created reluctance among the Greens' leadership. 

The two sides were scheduled to meet again on Wednesday to address Puigdemont and Comín's requests following failed talks in previous meetings.

With 74 MEPs, the Greens / ALEs are the fourth biggest political force in the Europeanchamber, but with Britain leaving the European Union this week they will lose a dozen members.

A Greens spokesperson previously said it made more sense for the two Catalan MEPs to apply to the European Conservatives and Reformists, a Eurosceptic group that includes the N-VA but also Spain's far-right Vox party, which is opposed to Catalonia's independence.

During the election campaign last May, Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout said that the trial of Catalan independence leaders in the Supreme Court was "politicized" and harmed Spain's image abroad.

Greens cite "differences" of politics and strategy

The Greens co-leader, German MEP Ska Keller, later said that in a meeting on Wednesday the Greens-EFA group had rejected the application of the two Catalan MEPs, even though they had already withdrawn their petition before the meeting began.

Keller said it was due to political "differences" and discrepancies over the "strategy" for resolving the Catalan situation: "We've always argued for a strategy of dialogue and our impression is that their strategy is different than that only calling for dialogue," she said.