The European Union's General Court (EGC) has dismissed the two appeals of the exiled Catalan MEPs and has withdrawn the parliamentary immunity of Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí. The former Catalan president has announced that they will submit an appeal to the European Court of Justice.
The court dismissed all the arguments formulated by the three European representatives. It ratifies the assessment of the European Parliament, in the sense that the judicial process was not initiated with the intention of damaging the activity of the Catalan deputies, and emphasizes that the events that prompted the request to lift immunity took place in 2017, when the three were not yet members of the Parliament, and that the process affects people who are now MEPs. It also adds that it is not up to the European Parliament to analyze the legality of Spanish judicial acts, which it considers "the exclusive competence of the national authorities".
The EGC ruled that there is no impediment for a single rapporteur to be appointed to examine multiple related immunity files when the petitioners are referring to MEPs who are in the same legal process.
Likewise, on the question of whether the rapporteur of the immunity request was a member of parliament close to Vox, the General Court concludes that the speaker was appointed by the Legal Affairs Committee in accordance with protocol and under equal conditions established in the groups and that his membership in that conservative group is "irrelevant for the appreciation of his impartiality".
Puigdemont: "Nothing is finished"
"Today, political dissent is more threatened in Europe." That is one of the conclusions drawn by MEP and former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in a message sent on social media over this Wednesday's decision by the General Court, which dismissed the two appeals to maintain the parliamentary immunity that has until now, via interim protection measures, protected the three MEPs from the threat of an arrest warrant issued by the Spanish Supreme Court. Puigdemont affirms that "nothing is finished" and has announced that he will present an appeal to the higher EU court, the European Court of Justice, to "defend our fundamental rights to the end". After today's sentence, there is a period of two months to submit an appeal to the highest European judicial instance, which will have to make a decision within six months, as explained by Puigdemont himself in his message on Twitter.
Res no s’acaba, ben al contrari. Tot continua. Presentarem recurs al TJUE, i defensarem fins al final els nostres drets fonamentals, que són també els drets fonamentals dels catalans i els europeus. Amb el mateix esperit del primer dia, treballant per guanyar la llibertat.…— krls.eth / Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) July 5, 2023
Translation of tweet:
"Nothing is finished, quite the opposite. Everything carries on. We will present an appeal to the European Court of Jusyice, and will defend our fundamental rights to the end, which are also the fundamental rights of Catalans and Europeans. With the same spirit as the first day, working to win freedoms. We certainly worked hard to get another ruling, but we were also preparing the way forward in the event that the outcome was the one announced today. And we are ready to continue right now. We have two months to present the appeal to the highest European court, which will then have six months to make a decision. Today, however, political dissent is more threatened in Europe. Political minorities who defend causes that inconvenience the states will have, if this sentence is not reversed, more difficulties in exercising their rights."- Carles Puigdemont