European Parliament takes first step to withdraw immunity from Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí

Publication: Tuesday February 23, 2021 20:01

First step of the European Parliament to withdraw parliamentary immunity from former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, as well as former advisers and also MEPs Clara Ponsatí and Toni Comín.

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on Tuesday recommended to withdraw their immunity, as requested by the Supreme Court. The chairman of the said committee, Adrián Vázquez, announced it after the vote on the immunity reports of the three MEPs, who state that the acts for which they are intended to be prosecuted predate their status as MEPs.

The recommendation was formulated by 15 votes in favor, 8 against and 2 abstentions, by secret ballot. “Now this result will be sent to the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Sassoli, and once he has it, he will put it on the agenda of the next plenary session, which will take place the week of March 8. “, according to Vázquez.

Thus, after the result of Tuesday’s vote, the 705 members of the chamber will decide on the immunity of the three deputies from Junts by Cat during the plenary session held from March 8 to 11 in Brussels.

Although Vázquez considered it premature to advance the result of this vote, he argued that in general, the positions of parliamentary committees are generally “reproduced” during the vote in plenary, since the proportion of each parliamentary group in the committees corresponds to their weight in the room.

If the plenary session finally confirms the suspension of the immunity of the three deputies, their extradition files to Spain could be reactivated. In the case of Puigdemont and Comín, the Belgian court, which must decide whether or not to execute the European detention and surrender order issued by the Supreme Court, has suspended the trial until it finds out whether the request yielded. Ponsatí’s case, meanwhile, is pending in a UK court as he resides in Scotland.

Spain’s High Court formally referred the three claims back to the European Parliament in January last year, but paralysis caused by the coronavirus pandemic blocked their processing until last November, when they were reactivated.

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