The European Commission has distanced itself from its own new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, over comments he made earlier this week about the European Arrest Warrant against Carles Puigdemont, comparing the case to another in Belgium involving an alleged member of ETA.
"The high representative expressed his personal opinion, the position of the European Commission is known and hasn't changed," justice spokesperson Christian Wigand said in the daily press briefing.
In the name of the Commission, Wigand has repeated that compliance with an European Arrest Warrant request falls only on legal authorities and that they are expected to be independent. "The application of the European Arrest Warrant is a purely legal procedure in which the Commission has no notable role, so we don't comment on individual cases," .
Deputy chief spokesperson Dana Spinant, meanwhile, added that they hadn't discussed the matter with the Commission's president, Ursula von der Leyen.
For his part, Borrell in Strasbourg this morning said that he didn't want to question any country's independence with his comments. "They have my complete respect and whatever verdict is issued, it will have to be accepted without questioning as vice-president of the Commission," he said.
Carles Puigdemont reacted to the comments yesterday, saying he will pass them on to the court in Belgium. He will also file a complaint with the Commission for allegedly violating his presumption of innocence and his lawyers are studying undertaking legal actions.