Sep 09, 2019

Catalonia: Case of Oriol Junqueras Raised at European Court of Justice

The case of Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras, who has been jailed by Spanish authorities for his involvement in Catalonia’s 2017 independence referendum, will be heard at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In light of Spain’s efforts to prevent Junqueras from taking his seat in the new European Parliament (EP), to which he was elected in May 2019, the ECJ has now requested EP President David Sassoli to send its views on the possible parliamentary immunity that Junqueras would enjoy, which would make his imprisonment in Spain unlawful.

Below is an article published by The National:

European Parliament President David Sassoli is to send the body’s views on the parliamentary immunity of a jailed Catalan political leader to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Oriol Junqueras, former vice-president of Catalonia, is among those in prison awaiting verdicts after a trial over their role in the 2017 independence referendum. He was elected as an MEP in May, but the Spanish justiciary prevented him from carrying out the necessary steps to take up his seat.

The EU’s legal affairs committee told Sassoli to send its legal service’s views to the court in Luxembourg – a move that was supported by the Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens, but opposed by the People’s Party, Conservatives and Reformists, according to the Catalan News Agency (ACN). The case will be heard at the ECJ next month [October 2019] to decide if Junqueras has parliamentary immunity as an MEP, despite not being able to take his seat. Junqueras, leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) argues that his election to the European Parliament gives him parliamentary immunity and he should be freed from jail.

Spain’s Supreme Court wants to know if he enjoys immunity despite not having completed his accreditation and if he has the right to be allowed out of prison for that and to attend the parliament. Spanish authorities earlier declared his seat vacant when the parliament held its first full session.

Spain’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, meanwhile, has made a new offer to the Podemos party to secure his investiture, but with little change in policies towards Catalonia, including rejection of a new referendum. If he fails to win Congress support by September 23 [2019], Spain will hold an automatic general election on November 10 [2019].


Photo courtesy of Convergència de Democràtica de Catalunya @Flickr