The Speaker of the Catalan parliament Roger Torrent headed a delegation of Republicans in Strasbourg on Monday
Esquerra Republicana demanded on Monday that Oriol Junqueras, the President of Esquerra still imprisoned by Spain, should be able to take his place as an MEP. The Republicans called for this three days after the Supreme Court denied him his parliamentary immunity, despite a ruling by the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) recognizing his status as of his election in the European elections in May. "We have come to call for justice, right is on our side," exclaimed the Speaker of the Parliament Roger Torrent, who along with Foreign Minister Alfred Bosch, led the Esquerra delegation that travelled to Strasbourg to support President Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, both MEPs-elect who have finally been able to take their seats.
Mr Torrent denounced before the European institutions that Junqueras cannot exercise his rights of political representation because the Spanish authorities are holding him in prison, "illegally, outside European jurisdiction", because they are not applying the ruling by the ECJ . "It is clear and simple, Junqueras is an MEP and must be released," he said.
A ruling by a hierarchically higher court is being ignored and the separation of powers is being jeopardized because a court is allowed to interfere with the composition of the chamber and the sovereignty of the European ParliamentRoger Torrent Speaker of the Catalan Parliament
Regarding this, the Speaker of the Parliament railed against the leading Spanish judiciary for jeopardizing the founding principles of the Union and European integration. "Europe must be made aware of this: a ruling by a hierarchically higher court is being ignored and the separation of powers is being jeopardized because a court is allowed to interfere with the composition of the chamber and the sovereignty of the European Parliament," Torrent concluded.
In the same vein, Foreign Minister Alfred Bosch emphasized that, just as MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín have collected their accreditations, Mr Junqueras should also be able to come to Strasbourg and Brussels to represent his constituents politically and to exercise democracy. "Since going into exile, Puigdemont and Comín have been respected as free citizens in a free Europe; Junqueras cannot because the Spanish authorities have kept him in prison; it is the only difference and it is not acceptable" he concluded, also calling out the Spanish Supreme Court's disobedience of the European Courts.
Mr Torrent, who met with the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala and Dimitrios Papadimoulis in the afternoon, and Mr Bosch received Messrs Puigdemont and Comin at the entrance of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. MEP Diana Riba was also present, as were the leader of Esquerra at Barcelona city hall and former MEP Ernest Maragall, and Catalonia’s Government Delegate to Brussels, Meritxell Serret, amongst others.