Right after opening today's plenary session, European Parliament vice-president Ewa Kopacz announced the start of the process to evaluate the application by Spanish authorities to lift the immunity as MEPs of Catalan politicians Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín.
Puigdemont later spoke to reporters in the Parliament about the step, saying that the announcement "formed part of the expected timetable" and that even as early as when they decided to stand for election, "there was already a file" on the issue. "We know what we have to do now," he added.
He said that investigating judge Pablo Llarena doesn't have the competence to submit such an application to the European Parliament, as it should be responsibility of the ministry of justice. What's more, he argued, the case should not be with the Supreme Court anyway, as they are no longer members of the Catalan Parliament.
He also said the submission process started "because there's a political party called Vox" which has brought a private prosecution in their case: "It's not neutral, there's a fascist political party in this Parliament which is calling for years in prison for us. The president said all parties should bear that in mind when considering their votes.
The president notes that the European Parliament "is neutral [...] and has to do its work." He says this means it must both accept to consider such a request from Spain, but also give time for his arguments when the time comes.