The European Court of Justice has rejected the appeal filed by the Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont to take up his seat as an MEP at the inaugural session of the new Parliament on Tuesday due to his failure to swear an oath of office in Madrid.
Elected as an MEP in May, Puigdemont refused to attend a swearing-in ceremony in Madrid, because he is wanted by the authorities there for his role in organising an illegal independence referendum in Catalonia in 2017. A return to Spain would have led to his certain arrest; however the swearing-in session that he missed is an essential part of taking up a seat as an MEP, according to Spanish law.
Toni Comin, a former regional “minister” of Carles Puigdemont, elected on the same list during European who also lives in exile in Belgium, also appealed to the European Court to be able to take up his seat in Strasbourg. “But the applicants were not on the list handed over by the Spanish authorities to the Parliament,” said the EU Court of Justice.
The official list sent by Madrid contains only the names of the elected representatives who took the oath on the Constitution before the Spanish electoral commission. The European court “will pronounce a final sentence on the substance of this case at a later date,” the Court said in a statement, stressing that the rejection of provisional measures “does not prejudge the outcome of the main action” .
“We will continue,” assured Carles Puigdemont on Twitter adding that that “the representation of millions of voters [is] at stake, and also the future of the EU as an area of exemplary democracy”.
Last week, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, had informed Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin that they could not be considered as MEPs, since they had not been sworn-in in Madrid.
Catalan separatist associations have called for protests on Tuesday in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg in support of pro-independence politicians.