The European Parliament must act to protect the rights of barred Catalan MEPs

The European Free Alliance urges the European Parliament to protect the political rights of the three MEP-elect Catalan representatives –Oriol Junqueras, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín– who have been barred from taking their seats by the Spanish judicial authorities, and calls for their recognition as elected members in order to ensure the chamber’s democratic legitimacy.

After receiving more than two million votes on the 26 May, EFA Lead Candidate for the European elections and President of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, Oriol Junqueras, as well as former members of the Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, have not been recognized as MEPs and the European Parliament’s constitutive session took place on 2 July in Strasbourg despite their absence.

EFA party President Lorena López de Lacalle said: “Depriving three elected members of their political rights poses a severe danger to democracy. The European Parliament must preserve the rights of all its members to prevent illegitimacy of this key institution”.

Faced with this violation of political rights, more than 10,000 Catalans gathered on 2 July in front of the Parliament building in Strasbourg to demand that the three elected members can take their seats, in a demonstration joined by EFA MEPs.

During the event, EFA MEP Diana Riba and Secretary General Jordi Solé, from Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, read a letter on behalf of Oriol Junqueras, who has called “all democrats in Europe not to look to the other side and to denounce the violation of fundamental rights in Catalonia. The votes of more than two million people cannot fall into oblivion”.

According to López de Lacalle, the European Parliament has “lost the opportunity to show that it is the House representing all European citizens with the same criteria” and that is why “a reform of the European institutions is an absolute priority, because a parliament under the influence of 28 State governments is not sustainable”.

EFA President also recalled that defending and promoting the right to self-determination can never be a crime and, therefore, nobody should be in jail for that reason nor in exile.

The demonstration was also backed by MEPs from other political groups in the European Parliament, others than Greens/EFA, such Matt Carthy, Pernando Barrena or Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), Izaskun Bilbao (Reform Europe), or Mark Demesmaeker (former ECR MEP).

Read here the press release of the EFA group in the EP: “Catalan MEPs should be allowed to take their seats”.