Beatriz Navarro, Brussels 4 October 2021
Carles Puigdemont, Clara Ponsati and Toni Comin, leaving the Sassari court GIANNI BIDDAU / AFP
All the roads in the Puigdemont case pass through Luxembourg. The decision of the Court of Cassation of Sassari (Sardinia) to suspend the extradition process of the former president of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont until the European courts rule on his situation once again puts all eyes on the General Court of the European Union.
It is up to this body, first of all, that Puigdemont provisionally regain parliamentary immunity in the short term and can move around Europe without the risk of being arrested.
Also, the confirmation or cancellation of the legal shield to which he was entitled to his seat as a MEP, based on the appeal presented by himself in May as a result of the decision of the European Parliament to access the request so that he could be tried in Spain.
And, finally, the response of the European judges to the preliminary question presented in this case by the Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena about the extent to which a member state can hinder the execution of a Euro order.
The TGUE can decide in days on the request for precautionary measures
The first decision, the response to the request for precautionary measures presented on Friday, affects the immediate future of Puigdemont and should presumably be resolved in the next few days. If his lawyer, Gonzalo Boyé, had asked for “extremely precautionary” measures instead of “precautionary” measures, the process would have been speeded up, but Puigdemont’s defense chose to activate this route.
The process will force the parties involved in the case, including the State Bar, which may be forced to explain why in July it told the General Court of the EU that the euro order was suspended and could not be executed until the appeals were not resolved while, as has now been demonstrated, they remain in force for the Spanish Supreme Court.
In its decision of July 30, the judge of the General Court of the EU (TGUE) concluded that in view of the explanations received there was no risk of arrest and deemed it unnecessary to adopt precautionary measures. But in his text he made it clear that if something changed, he would reconsider his position. That is what Puigdemont’s defense hopes will happen, so that the open process in Italy is kept on hold and it can move freely in Europe without risk of being arrested.
In a few months, the European courts will decide on the immunity of Puigdemont and the execution of Euro-orders
Once all the parties have been heard, the European magistrate will decide again on the adaptation of the provisional measures to protect the affected person. And, in the meantime, the TGUE will continue to examine the merits of the case, whether the European Parliament acted legally by lifting his immunity, a decision adopted in March by 400 votes in favor, 248 against and 25 abstentions.
Finally, the European justice must answer the preliminary question sent by Judge Llarena last spring as a result of the decision of the Belgian Justice not to execute the arrest and surrender order against former minister Lluis Puig. The scope of the questions posed by the Supreme Court magistrate goes beyond the Puigdemont case and will give the European Union Court of Justice an opportunity to rule on attempts to question the primacy of community law over national law. Beyond the fate of the former Catalan president, the case is followed with enormous attention in European judicial circles.