The European Parliament report on the 2019 EU election avoids the months-long legal battle faced by jailed and exiled Catalan pro-independence leaders Carles Puigdemont, Oriol Junqueras, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí to be accepted as MEPs.

Despite the efforts of the Greens-EFA group to mention the fact that Junqueras was in the end barred from his seat, the majority of the chamber rejected it – the paper neither mentions the fact that Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí were only granted their MEP status over half a year after the vote.

The report was passed in a plenary session on Thursday with 468 votes in favor, 194 against and 34 abstentions.

Coincidentally, this week the rapporteur of a separate EU chamber report on fundamental rights in the Union, Clare Daly, denounced being barred from mentioning the situation of the Catalan political prisoners in the paper.

Spain barred MEP-elects for a formality

The 2019 EU vote saw Puigdemont and Junqueras elected as MEPs as their parties came first and third.  Yet,  Spain’s electoral authority barred Puigdemont from this post. The exiled Catalan president was unable to comply with the formality (required by Spain) of taking the constitutional oath in person after being elected as he was in Belgium.

Likewise, Spain’s Supreme Court rejected allowing Junqueras a temporary leave from his then provisional detention pending sentence to take the oath, and neither was he included in the final list of MEPs.

Immunity when results are declared

After a legal battle, on December 19 the European Court of Justice recognized Esquerra’s leader’s immunity from the day the results were declared, something applicable also to Puigdemont and any MEP-elect from now on.

The chamber in Brussels accepted them as MEPs. In Junqueras’ case, this was just for a few days, since in early January he was suspended after Spain’s judiciary notified that he was serving a final prison sentence, including disqualification from public office.

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