The applicants, Mr. Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó and Mr. Antoni Comín i Oliveres, stood as candidates in the elections to the European Parliament on 26 May 2019.
On 26 May 2019, the Lliures per Europa (Junts) coalition, led by the plaintiffs, won 1,018,435 votes and two seats in the European Parliament. On 13 June 2019, the Spanish Central Electoral Board adopted an Agreement, published on 14 June 2019, which proceeded to the proclamation of elected Deputies, the proclamation being subject to contentious-electoral appeal. The Board also established in this Agreement the date of the session in which the elected candidates had to take an oath or promise to abide by the Constitution.
On June 15, 2019, the Instructing Judge of the Supreme Court refused to withdraw the arrest warrants that weigh on the plaintiffs. On June 17, 2019, the Central Electoral Board (Junta Electoral Central) refused to accept the plaintiffs’ request to abide by the Spanish Constitution by a written declaration made before a notary or by legal representatives appointed in a notarial document. According to the plaintiffs, on 21 May 2019 the Spanish Senate had accepted a written declaration made before a notary as a valid means of promising to abide by the Spanish Constitution.
On 17 June 2019, the Central Electoral Board notified to the European Parliament a list of candidates elected in Spain, which did not include the applicants. On 20 June 2019, the Spain’s Central Electoral Board sent a letter to the European Parliament notifying it of a resolution adopted by that Board and informing it that the applicants would not acquire the status of members of the European Parliament […] until they swore or promised to abide by the Spanish Constitution.
The President of the European Parliament sent a letter to the complainants on 27 June 2019, informing them of the content of the letter sent by the Spanish authorities and informing them that, until he received further news from those authorities, he could not treat the complainants as future members of the European Parliament. On 28 June 2019, the applicants filed an application for interim measures requesting the President of the General Court – until the merits of the main action brought on the same day were decided – to suspend the execution of a series of European Parliament decisions relating to the results of the European Parliament elections of 26 May 2019 officially declared by Spain, and to order that institution to take all necessary measures to enable the applicants to take their seats in the European Parliament from the constitutive session to be held after the elections on 2 July 2019.
The President examines EU law governing the election of representatives to the European Parliament (1976 Act), according to which, in order to verify the credentials of its Members, Parliament must take note of the results officially proclaimed by the Member States and decide on any disputes which may arise in relation to the provisions of the Act, excluding the national provisions to which the Act refers. In this context, the President stresses that Parliament cannot question the validity in itself of the declaration made by the national authorities. Nor does the 1976 Act allow the European Parliament to refuse to take note of such a declaration if it considers that there is an irregularity. The President notes that, as is clear from the text of the proclamation of 13 June 2019, this cannot, at first sight, be considered to be the act by which the Kingdom of Spain officially declared the “results” within the meaning of the 1976 Act. The proclamation expressly states that the latter is subject to an electoral contentious appeal. In addition, it specifies that elected candidates must take an oath or promise to abide by the Spanish Constitution at a session to be held on 17 June 2019.
Thus, although the aforementioned proclamation may be understood as an important and necessary step in the national procedure, it appears, at first sight, as an intermediate stage, and not as the definitive stage that puts an end to the national procedure and leads to the official communication of the results in the sense of article 12 of the 1976 Act. Consequently, according to the President, since it is indisputable that the names of the applicants were not included in the list sent by the Spanish authorities to Parliament on 17 June 2019, it must be held that, at first sight, the applicants had not been declared officially elected within the meaning of the 1976 Act. Therefore, the applicants’ argument that the Parliament should have considered that the proclamation of 13 June 2019 was the official declaration within the meaning of the 1976 Act and should not have taken into account the list sent by the Spanish authorities on 17 June 2019 cannot be upheld.
In this context, the President also points out that the question of whether the plaintiffs should have been allowed to swear or promise to abide by the Spanish Constitution without being physically present at the session agreed on 17 June 2019 must be resolved by the national authorities. In this regard, the President indicates that the plaintiffs have appealed to a national court against the requirement to appear to swear or promise to abide by the Spanish Constitution, and that the matter is still pending.
Finally, in response to the applicants’ allegation that the letter of 20 June 2019 sent by the Spanish authorities to the Parliament under which vacancies remained the two seats allocated to them is incompatible with the 1976 Act, the President stresses that, in the absence of an official declaration by the Spanish authorities within the meaning of the 1976 Act stating that the applicants were elected candidates, there was no basis on which Parliament could verify the applicants’ credentials.
Consequently, there was no reason for Parliament to verify whether the fact that the plaintiffs were not present at the session of 17 June 2019 to swear or promise to abide by the Spanish Constitution should mean that their seats in Parliament should become vacant, within the meaning of the 1976 Act. Similarly, there was no basis on which Parliament should have given the applicants a provisional seat until their credentials had been verified.
Consequently, the President of the General Court considers that the application for interim measures cannot succeed and is therefore dismissed.