The report prepared by the Legal Affairs Commission (JURI) of the European Parliament recommends processing the requests sent by the Spanish Supreme Court and lifting the immunity of the former president of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont and the former councilors Toni Comin and Clara Ponsatí so that they can be extradited and tried in Spain. The document, coordinated by Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki, will be voted on by the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs on Tuesday, and if approved it will be submitted to plenary next month.
The paper, advanced by Us and whose content Press has been able to confirm, develops what was expected. Even though the case of pro-independence politicians is very controversial, it has unusual notoriety and its vote in the plenary session will have an enormous political load, the decision of the Legal Affairs committee is merely technical. Or so it should be. In the last legislature, the European Parliament examined 70 requests and only in five cases refused to lift immunity. This is not a legal test.
The norms say that the request can be rejected only if it is considered that they want to judge a deputy for his opinions or his votes the exercise of his functions. Or if there is a case of fumus persecutions, that is, when it is estimated that the motivation of the process is “to harm the political activity of a deputy and, consequently, the independence of the institution.” Therefore, the normal thing, statistically and procedurally, is that it is authorized, and more so if the petition is filed for a pending case with the Justice before the acquisition of the status of deputy and his immunity.
The process started more than a year ago, in January 2020, with the appointment of a speaker, something that is done on a rotating basis among the groups that are part of the Committee. Afterward, it was decided whether to process the petitions separately or jointly, and the deputies chose to leave everything in the same hands and a single report. Last month, after a long delay due to the coronavirus, the hearings were finally held with the three affected, each one individually. And now the report that was sent yesterday to all the members of the Committee has been made. It will be discussed behind closed doors on Monday and voted on Tuesday. It is a good guide, but the result is not binding.
The plenary session of the European Parliament will vote on the decision, and there the technical factors no longer come into play, but pure politics. See which side gets the most votes among all groups. “It is a very serious parliamentary procedure, and it is essential to raise awareness of the need to maintain its confidentiality throughout the process. Leaking is not only ethically reprehensible, but it can lead to the opening of a sanctioning procedure for whoever has carried it out. It continues to surprise me that there are people who still do not understand that this is not a game or something from which it is necessary to take political advantage, “Citizens Deputy Adrian Vazquez, president of JURI, warned this Thursday, annoyed by the leak of the report.
The entire application process is necessary to reactivate the process of trying to extradite the three MEPs to Spain. The Belgian Justice put his case on hold until the European Parliament decides on the matter because having immunity recognized right now the Brussels courts could not and did not want to proceed. Accepting the plea was a necessary step, but not necessarily a sufficient one. The decision corresponds to the Court, and just six weeks ago it rejected for the umpteenth time the extradition of another former minister, Lluis Puig. He is not an MEP, but he is also claimed. His case progressed at a different pace, and the court considered that the Spanish request could not be attended, since it considered that Judge Pablo Llarena and the Spanish Supreme Court were not competent to carry.