Puigdemont to become full-fledged MEP. What next?

Returning to Catalonia and a vote in the European parliament to allow his extradition process might unfold in the near future


Carles Puigdemont during a press conference in Berlin in July 2018 (by Guillem Roset)
Carles Puigdemont during a press conference in Berlin in July 2018 (by Guillem Roset) / Guifré Jordan

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

December 23, 2019 12:32 PM

"I don't know whether I will take 20 years to set foot on Spanish soil, but I know I won't take 20 years to set foot on Catalan soil." Carles Puigdemont made these remarks in July 2018 in Berlin, after Spain's attempt to extradite him from Germany on rebellion charges failed. 

While some understood that the former Catalan president was assuming that his country would be independent within two decades, others guessed that at some point he would visit Northern Catalonia – the Catalan-speaking area in southern France, which roughly coincides with the Pyrénées-Orientales department, and which was officially part of Catalonia until 1659. 

One and a half years later, his remarks might become a fact sooner than expected. 

Jan 6: Puigdemont to become MEP

Puigdemont is set to become a full-fledged MEP on January 6, or in the days immediately afterwards, in time to attend the first European Parliament plenary session from January 13 in Strasbourg. 

Last Friday he obtained his provisional accreditation, after the European Court of Justice ruled that not being able to take Spain's constitutional oath should not be a reason to prevent an MEP-elect from taking up their seat. 

Immunity granted: freedom to travel within the EU

His status as a Member of the European Parliament will give him immunity, which in theory means two things: Puigdemont will be able to travel anywhere in the EU without being arrested, and Spain will have to ask the EU chamber for permission if they want to continue any judicial procedure against him. 

By attending the Strasbourg plenary session, the pro-independence leader will set foot in France for the first time since the weekend of October 28-29, 2017, when he went into exile. He has also said that he is "very much looking forward" to doing some political event in Perpignan, Northern Catalonia, despite ruling out moving there.