25th February 2020
Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin
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Update: Puigdemont files complaint against EU Parliament

The former Catalan president and now MEP-elect, Carles Puigdemont, has filed a formal complaint to the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the chamber’s Secretary General, Klaus Welle, for being denied access to the parliamentary building on Wednesday evening – the Catalan News Agency (CNA) has reported.

Puigdemont and also exiled MEP-elect Toni Comín, have formally complained about being unable to become temporarily accredited by the chamber, like other MEPs have been able to do, pending the approval of the final paperwork.

The European Parliament stopped the entry of former Puigdemont and Comín on Wednesday, both of whom were elected as MEPs in the recent EU election, despite being in exile in Belgium.

European Parliament sources told the CNA that Puigdemont and Comín might not be allowed inside until they have ‘effectively registered’ as MEPs – a contentious requirement as the chamber’s legal team claims that pro-independence leaders must return to Spain and risk arrest in order to assume their posts.

Other MEPs were granted temporary accreditation while Puigdemont and Comín were not allowed to enter the building, with the main Spanish parties asking the house to not register any elected MEPs without paperwork provided in Spain shortly afterwards.

In their complaint, the former president and the former minister ask for the ‘paperwork demonstrating the ban’, and they also seek access to the CCTV footage of the moment in which they were prevented from entering the building.

Puigdemont, in reference to these events, complained to the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, of ‘discriminatory treatment’.

ALSO READ: A UN group demands release of Sànchez, Cuixart and Junqueras

Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin
Carles Puigdemont (centre) and Toni Comín (far left) outside the EU Parliament (Natàlia Seguro / ACN)

Speaking outside the EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday evening after being denied entry, the former Catalan president dismissed the decision as a ‘dirty game’.

‘We hope the European Parliament doesn’t follow the same path as the Spanish authorities and their tendency to violate fundamental rights,’ said Puigdemont.

According to Puigdemont, security guards at the EU Parliament gates were also instructed to prevent the entrance of Oriol Junqueras, the former Catalan vice president who was also elected MEP while imprisoned in Madrid. Junqueras is currently one of the 12 defendants on trial in Madrid.

ALSO READ: Junqueras: ‘They’ve suspended us in Spain, but won’t be able to in the EU’

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