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Thursday, 22 April 2021

Spain hails decision to lift Catalan MEPs' immunity

Spain's foreign minister on Tuesday hailed the European Parliament's decision to lift the immunity of three wanted Catalan MEPs, saying it showed the Catalonia issue was to be resolved within Spain

AFP , Tuesday 9 Mar 2021
spain
File photo:Former members of the Catalan government now members of European Parliament, Carles Puigdemont (L) atends a debate on annual report for 2018 and 2019 on Fundamental rights in the European Union, during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 24 November 2020. AFP
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Spain's foreign minister on Tuesday hailed the European Parliament's decision to lift the immunity of three wanted Catalan MEPs, saying it showed the Catalonia issue was to be resolved within Spain.

The decision relates to former regional president Carles Puigdemont and two others wanted by Spain over their role in the failed Catalan independence bid of 2017.

'With this decision, they're sending out a triple message, firstly: an MEP cannot use their status to protect themselves from appearing in court for possible breaches of national law and a second message about the rule of law and respect for the Spanish justice system,' Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told reporters.

'The third message is that the Catalonia problem must be resolved within Spain and not at a European level,' she added, saying Madrid was extending a hand to the political forces within the region to 'seek a solution (to the independence crisis) through dialogue and negotiation'.

Puigdemont fled Spain for Belgium in late 2017 to escape prosecution following the failed secession bid of that October that sparked Spain's worst political crisis in decades. He is wanted on sedition charges.

The other two are the former Catalan health and education ministers, Clara Ponsati and Toni Comin, who are also wanted on sedition charges over the organisation of a banned October referendum on independence.

Comin is also living in Belgium while Ponsati is based in Scotland

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