Parlamentary Immunity, Puigdemont and the EU
In a year where a pandemic has complicated our lives beyond recognition, it is easy to forget some facts. The EU voting for the stripping of parliamentary immunity for 3 nationalist politicians from Spain may therefore come as a surprise. However, this is just the outcome of a request made by Spain over a year ago.
The news have triggered speculation on the chances that this time Puigdemont, together with Comín and Ponsatí, former members of his cabinet, will finally be extradited. This seems unlikely, on the face of a negative ruling by Brussels on a similar case. The request for the extradition of Lluis Puig, another nationalist politician in a similar situation, who also fled Spain for Belgium, fell flat on its face.
It does seem that the laws in each EU member estate could be getting in the way for this extraditions to succeed. Belgium was not a destination chosen lightly. That the charge of rebellion does not even exist in Belgian law is just an example of the difficulties that Spain is facing when making its case for extradition. Something similar happened when the request was sent to Germany, at a time when Puigdemont was found there and provisionally retained, awaiting an outcome of that request.
So we have a story already where the part of European laws that are not homogenised are the reason why Puigdemont could continue avoiding the Spanish legal system, which is ready to put him into trial.
Are the Spanish judges going to succeed this time in persuading their Belgian counterparts of the validity of their request? There is no reason to believe that persuasion and an interpretation of the law that facilitates Puigdemont's extradition will play a successful role. This type of miscommunication only leaks sketchily to the media, but it was obvious back in 2018 that the obstacle in finding common understanding in the absence of common law, was far too big to overcome. Why would it be different this time?