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Catalan MEP and president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, has clarified to the Spanish interior minister why he does not intend to hand himself over to the Spanish authorities, the step which minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska suggested this morning would be "responsible". Puigdemont stated in a tweet that the structures of the Spanish state are corrupt and must be fought.

"In a state whose structures are corrupt, from the royal palace through to the police forces, assuming the maximum responsibility means fighting so that those claws stained with torture and violence do not strangle the lives of millions of Catalans who want to live freely and in peace," said Puigdemont.

With a start of dialogue on Catalonia's conflict with the Spanish state still pending, interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska today asked Carles Puigdemont to turn himself in to Spain. 

In an interview with Spanish network La Sexta, the minister put it as follows . "It would be desirable for Puigdemont to be able to assume his responsibilities and return to resolve the court cases which are pending. That would be the ideal situation," he asserted.

Different criteria in Europe

Puigdemont, the head of the Catalan government which held the referendum on independence from Spain, has been in exile since 2017, principally in Belgium. Despite placing himself in the hands of judicial authorities from the beginning, multiple Spanish attempts to extradite him have failed, with European judges at times rejecting the criteria used by Spain's justice system. Puigdemont now has immunity from prosecution as a member of the European Parliament, except in Spain itself, which does not recognize his status and prioritizes an arrest warrant issued by its own Supreme Court.

In response to the latest Spanish attempt to extradite the Catalan MEP, the European Parliament has before it a debate on whether or not to lift his immunity. If the request does not prosper, everything will remain as at present; if it does, Puigdemont will be under Belgian jurisdiction again, as he was before becoming an MEP.