Puigdemont, Comín, Ponsatí provisionally recover immunity as MEPs as EU court studies appeal
Exiled pro-independence politicians challenged European Parliament decision to strip them off their privileges facilitating extradition to Spain
Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín, and Clara Ponsatí, the three exiled Catalan politicians serving as members of the European Parliament, have recovered their political immunity following a provisional ruling by the European Court of Justice.
Former Catalan president Puigdemont and his two colleagues, all of whom were elected in the European election as members of the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya party, were stripped of their parliamentary rights last March after a majority of fellow MEPs in the chamber voted in favor of doing so.
The three politicians, who left Catalonia for Belgium in the fall of 2017 fearing imprisonment for their role in the failed bid to separate from Spain, challenged the European Parliament decision in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
With Spanish courts having repeatedly tried to extradite the three politicians to judge them, the EU court’s ruling suggests that their goal may continue to prove elusive.
Speaking after the EU parliament voted to strip him of his immunity, Puigdemont said he regretted the implications the decision would have for European democracy. “We’ve lost our immunity but the European Parliament has lost much more. It’s clearly political persecution," he said.
In the vote to lift Puigdemont's immunity, 400 MEPs sided in favor of doing so, 248 were against it, and 45 representatives abstained.