15 MEPs denounce Spain’s “misuse” of European arrest warrant to EU
They criticize its “opportunistic” application and ask the Commissioner for Justice how to avoid its use “at will”
Fifteen MEPs from nine different countries of the European Union have denounced before the European Commission (EC) Spain’s “misuse” of European arrest warrant for Catalan leaders. In a written parliamentary question addressed to the European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourová, MEPs asked whether the EC “envisages” any mechanism “to avoid an opportunistic use of the European arrest warrant in the future”.
According to the MEPs, Spain has “misused” this legal instrument against Carles Puigdemont and his ministers that are currently in Belgium. “The withdrawal of the European arrest warrant was a tactical movement to avoid a defeat in a Belgian Court,” stressed MEPs. In the letter, they also reminded that several of the charges Puigdemont and his ministers are accused of do not exist in Belgian law. What’s more, they highlighted that the Spanish judiciary “refused to issue a new European arrest warrant” when Puigdemont travelled to Denmark due to “political reasons”.
The MEP asked the European commissioner for Justice whether the “misuse” of the European arrest warrant can “affect the mutual trust among the judicial systems of the Members States and its effectiveness.” In addition, they asked her whether it should be allowed to issue and withdraw it at will. “Its opportunistic use raises the question if a European arrest warrant should be allowed to be withdrawn or presented at will,” they pointed out.
“Its opportunistic use raises the question if a European arrest warrant should be allowed to be withdrawn or presented at will"
What’s more, they reminded that the Spanish minister for Justice claimed that the European arrest warrant directive needs to be changed. Yet the European Commissioner for Justice rejected it, and said that it needs no modification.
The parliamentary written question is boosted by Catalan MEPs Ramon Tremosa, Josep Maria Terricabras and Jordi Solé, and backed by other MEPs coming from Ireland, France, Sweden, Slovenia, Wales, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and Spain.
Spanish Supreme Court withdrew European arrest warrant in December
The Spanish Supreme Court withdrew the international arrest warrant for Puigdemont and his four ministers, all of whom are currently in Belgium, on December 5. The extradition request had been issued by Spain’s National Court. Still, the Spanish Supreme Court withdrew it once it took the case.
Indeed, Puigdemont and his ministers had testified the day before, on December 4, at a Belgian court regarding their extradition. The Belgian judge had announced that a decision on their extradition would be taken on December 14. Yet the Spanish judiciary withdrew the European arrest warrant the day after the hearing. Thus, the Supreme Court avoided having the Belgian justice system be involved in the decision on Puigdemont and his four ministers.