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Germany has warned Spain that if judge Pablo Llarena does eventually appeal the German court's decision to leave president Carles Puigdemont free on bail and discount extradition on the charge of rebellion, it would cause a high-level institutional argument, according to the German press.

The possibility, announced by Spain's Supreme Court on Friday, is worrying Berlin because it would lead to a confrontation at the EU level between the Spanish and German justice systems. News magazine Der Spiegel says that, after the tensions that appeared over the weekend between Madrid and Berlin, taking the case to the EU would lead to a confrontation "at the highest level".

Coinciding with the warning, it has emerged today that Llarena has for the moment set aside the option of appealing to the EU Court of Justice, according to Catalan newspaper Ara. Llarena will wait to decide whether or not to apply to the court for a preliminary ruling until it is clear whether Puigdemont will be extradited.

The German malaise with Spanish authorities is clear, and not only over this case and because signs of Germanophobia are coming from around the party in government, but also for diplomatic tensions. The gestures are significant. When, on Saturday, there was the attack in Münster, many European leaders called Chancellor Angela Merkel, but not Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy. Spain "only" sent a message of condolence according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The paper also quotes statements by MEP Esteban González Pons (PP) questioning the existence of the Schengen Area "if the European Arrest Warrant doesn't work".

Controversy with Katarina Barley

The statements from the German justice minister, Katarina Barley, in support of the Schleswig-Holstein court and warning Spain that it won't be easy to prove the charge of misuse of public funds are a separate matter. The statement irritated the Spanish government and elicited a formal protest.

It appears the comments, published by Süddeutsche Zeitung, were made in an off the record conversation, as the German press reports she told her Spanish counterpart in a phone call. The German government has papered over the issue as far as possible, but far from making any profound correction which would test the strength of the CDU-SPD coalition.

The German justice ministry continues to see Puigdemont's extradition as far from a done deal. The country's policy is to promote anything which would de-escalate the conflict between Catalonia and the Spanish state, something both parties in the coalition can agree on.