Today, Spain's Supreme Court ruled that, despite the positions of the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Parliament itself, Catalan politician Oriol Junqueras will not be able to take up his seat in Strasbourg as an MEP.
Earlier this week, Junqueras was elected president of the EFA and first vice-president of Greens/EFA, the fourth-largest group in the Parliament. Today, Ska Keller, the group's co-president, has commented on the Supreme Court's decision, arguing that he should have had immunity before he was sentenced and "should be able to take his seat and represent those who voted for him".
We regret Spanish Supreme Court's decision that our MEP @junqueras cannot take up his seat.— Greens/EFA in the EU Parliament 🌍 (@GreensEFA) January 9, 2020
"The sentence he's currently serving was handed after he was elected and so he should have had immunity. He should be able to take his seat & represent those who voted for him"@SkaKeller pic.twitter.com/CFyvTWgtSf
Some MEPs went further, however. Milan Brglez, a Slovenian member of the S&D group, said that the question of "Junqueras vs Spain has inevitably become the issue of European Parliament vs Spanish judiciary", evoking "shadowy ruling by law".
Michèle Rivasi meanwhile, a French member of Greens/EFA, said, in an interview with news agency ACN published before the court's decision, that the decision of the Court of Justice of the EU obliges Spanish authorities to release Junqueras to take up his mandate. She said that if it doesn't allow him to do so, Spain would be violating the "law of European jurisdiction".
If it were to happen, she argued that MEPs would have to denounce the situation to the European Commission and call for "European jurisdiction to be respected". "If the Spanish judge refuses to remove him from prison, it will mean there's no respect for the European judicial hierarchy," she said.
Support for the Supreme Court
On the other hand, other MEPs, mainly from Spain, expressed support for the court's decision. They included Dolors Montserrat (PP), Jorge Buxadé (Vox) and Luis Garicano (Cs).
Gana la democracia, gana España y gana Europa.— Dolors Montserrat (@DolorsMM) January 9, 2020
Se hace justicia. Junqueras no será eurodiputado y permanecerá en la cárcel.
Los que dieron un golpe a la democracia no se irán de rositas.https://t.co/FIQisV4IFY
Translation: "Democracy wins, Spain wins and Europe wins. Justice is done. Junqueras won't be an MEP and will remain in prison. Those who made a coup against democracy won't get away with it."