EU court reinstates immunity of former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont

The Court of Justice of the European Union temporarily restored the immunity of three Catalan separatists and MEPs — including Carles Puigdemont — on Tuesday.

The court overturned a previous ruling by the lower EU General Court from last July that stripped the three MEPs of their parliamentary immunity, saying that without immunity the lawmakers faced “a sufficient degree of probability” of arrest, which would result in “serious and irreparable damage” to them.

The decision means Puigdemont and the two other MEPs, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí — who are all subject to European arrest warrants — will again be able to travel freely around the EU while carrying out their parliamentary duties. Puigdemont and Comín currently live in Belgium, while Ponsatí resides in Scotland.

But the ruling brings only a temporary reprieve for the three Catalan separatists, who have been accused by the Spanish state of embezzlement and sedition over their role in Catalonia’s 2017 independence referendum. It is still up to the General Court to decide whether the three lawmakers should have their immunity restored permanently and be handed over to the Spanish authorities.

Puigdemont praised the decision as a “positive result” on Twitter. “We will continue to [fight for freedom], no matter how many uncertainties there are and no matter how colossal the strength of the Spanish state may be,” he added.

The Spanish attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.