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News > Spain

EU Parliament President Lifts Ban on Top Catalan Politicians

  • Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and regional minister Antoni Comin hold a news conference in Brussels.

    Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and regional minister Antoni Comin hold a news conference in Brussels. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 December 2019

The two pro-independence leaders expressed their desire to complete the procedures and become Members of the European Parliament as soon as possible.

The President of the European parliament David Sassoli lifted Thursday a ban on entry into the European parliament of top Catalan separatist leaders, the former president of the government of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and the ex-minister of Health in the Catalan government Antoni “Toni” Comin. 


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Puigdemont and Comin who both live in exile in Belgium were elected as Members of the European Parliament (MEP) in the last election in May, however, they have so far been unable to take up their seats as MEPs.

The move comes after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that former vice president of Catalonia and leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) Oriol Junqueras, should have enjoyed parliamentary immunity and been recognized a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since the May European election when he was elected.

The former Catalan official was serving a prison sentence for his role in a banned independence referendum two years ago.

Although Junquera’s case does not directly refer to the situation of the two independentist politicians, yet the court’s decision had implications for Puigdemont and Comin whose cases are “analogous” to that of Junqueras, as their lawyers had argued in a letter addressed to Sassoli last month.

Sassoli’s decision has been communicated Thursday afternoon to Puigdemont and Comin who will be able from now to access the buildings of the European parliament as visitors, parliamentary sources said.

The two pro-independence leaders have expressed their desire to complete the necessary procedures to be accredited as MEPs as soon as possible.

The court rulings have rocked Spain as they could compromise Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s hopes of forming a new government, and force fresh elections in Catalonia.

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