Case C-502/19 | Junqueras Vies

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Series Details C-502/19
Publication Date 2019-
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Judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on privileges and immunities relating to the mandate of a member of the European Parliament (MEP).

Further information:

Mr Oriol Junqueras Vies was subject to criminal proceedings in which he was accused of having taken part in a process of secession, when as Vice-President of Catalonia's regional government allowed the undertaking of a referendum on self-determination. Mr Junqueras Vies was detained and remained in custody from 2 November 2017. Even so, he was elected member of the European Parliament in the election of May 2019, according to a result validated by the Spanish electoral commission. On 14 June 2019, the Supreme Court in Spain refused to allow Mr Junqueras Vies to leave prison in order to take the oath to respect the Spanish Constitution, as those elected to the European Parliament are required to do under national law. On 20 June, as no oath was taken, the electoral commission delcared his seat to be vacant and suspended all prerogatives deriving from his functions. The list of MEPs sent to the European Parliament did not include Mr Junqueras Vies.

On 14 June, Mr Junqueras Vies brought an action before the Spanish Supreme Court against the order issued on 14 June, claiming immunity under the Protocol on the privileges and immunities of the EU. The Supreme Court eventually referred questions to the CJEU concerning that immunity. On 14 October, the Supreme Court handed down a judgment condemning Mr Junqueras Vies to time in prison and as many years loss of civic rights.

On 12 November, the Court's Advocate-General issued an Opinion, by which the MEPs' parliamentary mandate is acquired solely from the electorate and this cannot be conditional on the completion of any subsequent formality. The Advocate General considered that the European Parliament should be able to decide whether it is appropriate to waive or defend the immunity of one of its Members. On 19 December, the Grand Chamber Court ruled that a person elected to the European Parliament acquires the status of Member of that institution at the time of the official declaration of the results and enjoys, from that time, the immunities attached to that status.

However, Spain's Supreme Court refused on 9 January 2020 to grant immunity to Mr Junqueras despite the ruling by the CJEU.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Euro|topics, December 2019: ECJ condemns Spain's treatment of separatist Junqueras
Leiden University: Leiden Law Blog, 20/12/2019: 'Free the MEPs' Roars the Court of Justice?
Verfassungsblog, 25/12/2019: A Matter of Representative Democracy in the European Union
Verfassungsblog, 14/01/2020: The Junqueras Saga Continues
Verfassungsblog, 16/01/2020: The Case of Mr. Junqueras is a Case of Respect of the Rule of Law

Euronews, 12/11/2019: Spain ECJ advice suggests jailed Catalan leader could have sought immunity as an MEP
The New York Times, 12/11/2019: Legal Opinion: EU Lawmakers Should Decide on Catalan Leader
EurActiv, 12/11/2019: EU advocate general: jailed Catalan leader has right to immunity as MEP-elect
EUObserver, 12/11/2019: Catalan MEP is 'elected', court advisor says
Politico, 12/11/2019: Spain was wrong to impede Catalan candidate from taking MEP seat, says top lawyer
Politico, 19/12/2019: EU court: Spain wrong to stop Catalan separatist taking up MEP seat
Euronews, 19/12/2019: EU top court rules Catalan separatist Junqueras was MEP with immunity when jailed in Spain
Catalan News, 19/12/2019: European Court of Justice grants immunity to jailed Catalan MEP-elect Oriol Junqueras
BBC News, 19/12/2019: Jailed Catalan leader 'should have had immunity', rules EU court
El País, 19/12/2019: EU court: Jailed Catalan politician had immunity as soon as he was elected MEP
EurActiv, 19/12/2019: EU Court: imprisoned Catalan-MEP elect had right to inmmunity
Reuters, 19/12/2019: Catalan separatist leader jailed by Spain had immunity as MEP - EU court
EUObserver, 19/12/2019: Catalan party: release leader after MEP 'immunity' verdict
Deutsche Welle, 09/01/2020: Spain refuses immunity for Catalan separatist MEP Junqueras ttps://
The Local (Spain), 10/01/2020: Spain's Supreme Court blocks jailed Catalan separatist's bid to take seat as MEP

CJEU CURIA: Case C-502/19 | Junqueras Vies
CJEU: Press Release, 12/11/2019: Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-502/19 Junqueras Vies
CJEU: Press Release, 19/12/2019: Judgment in Case C-502/19 Junqueras Vies
Spanish Government: News, 30/12/2019: State Legal Services asks Supreme Court to uphold appeal by Oriol Junqueras and allow him to take his seat as MEP

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