Former Catalan Prime Minister Carles Puigdemont, who led the attempt to expel the region from Spain in the fall of 2017, and his party colleague Anthony Comin fled the country shortly thereafter and sought asylum in Belgium, which despite the European arrest warrant issued by Spain refused to hand them over. The former Minister of Education of Poydemont, Clara Ponsatti, fled to Scotland, who refused to extradite her.
Spain’s Supreme Court will likely invite all three again, this time with support from the European Union. The Catalan separatists note that the legal committee in the European Parliament, which looked into the matter and persuaded parliament to revoke the immunity of the Catalans, was led by a representative of the Spanish Nationalist Party Ciudadanos, the arch-opponent of the separatists.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Who rules with the radical left party – and friend of the separatists – Podemos, is not a “hawk” in the case of Catalonia. He does not want to see Boigdemont and his colleagues on the court in Spain, with all the turmoil this might cause on the streets of Barcelona and in Spanish domestic politics.
Ironically, it is Belgium that is solving the problem that Brussels has now thrown into Sanchez’s arms. The last time Belgium received an order from Spanish HD for delivery in 2018, it refused, even though the Spanish government put all its energy behind the order. Belgium’s position was that Spain was demanding Bogdemont and Comin to commit a political crime. Today, when the Spanish government is partly divided on the issue and is clearly not interested in part, it is doubtful whether Belgium will use force in its previous decision. The same is true of Scotland in the case of Ponsatti.
And in the background The numbers The whole time the Spanish government speaks quietly about it, the expected amnesty for the entire Catalan separatist leadership, both imprisoned and deserted. Such an amnesty would be against the constitution, but few doubt that this is Sanchez’s goal and that his experts are considering how to formally arrange this.