Spain Extradition Request Violates Schengen: Belgium Coalition Splinters, Catalonia Support Surfaces

Madrid's extradition request for exiled Catalan leader Charles Puigdemont has hit two major snags. First, it violates Schengen political asylum rules. Second, the Belgium government is in a fragile 4-way coalition, and one of the parties openly supports Puigdemont.

Lead image by Toshiko Sakurai

Extradition Request Violates Schengen

It's amusing how mainstream media has heaped tons of praise on Mariano Rajoy's handling of the Catalonia independence vote. His handling has been totally inept and it is about to bring down the Belgium government.

The issue in play is the Schengen agreement that governs political asylum. Without a doubt, the Catalan leaders in exile cannot get a fair trial in Spain.

Eurointelligence notes there is a limited list of crimes to which the European Arrest Warrant applies but none of the three crimes Puigdemont is indicted for - rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds - are on that list.

Politically, this is a nightmare for the Belgian government, a complicated four-party coalition under the liberal Charles Michel, who is now in an open clash with the radical Flemish party N-VA. Its leader Bart de Wever confirmed his support for Puigdemont yesterday, saying that he is a welcome friend who should not be let down. This comes shortly after the prime minister insisted that Puigdemont came without a political invitation, but as an individual using the rights granted under Schengen.

No Chance of Fair Trial

Eurointelligence is strongly against independence, yet accurately concludes Catalans Cannot Get a Fair Trial.

"It is clear that dismissed Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont is in Brussels to seek a headline that says: Belgian courts rule that Spain does not guarantee a fair trial. And, after yesterday's events in Spain's National Court, he's almost guaranteed to get it. This is the stuff of nightmares for the Spanish government, which so far enjoys the unwavering support of its European partners; and for the Belgian Prime Minister, who is tottering on the brink of a government crisis as it is."

Catalan Separatism Energised Again

From Eurointelligence

The political consequences of the imprisonment of the entire dismissed Catalan cabinet - save for the five members of it that are in Brussels - will be severe. Yesterday there were spontaneous demonstrations in Catalonia, and pot-banging has returned. There are calls for a general strike next week. And the odds that there will be a single non-partisan "civic" list encompassing all separatist parties, and members of the grass-roots, have risen considerably. In the current mood, this could possibly also include members of the fence-sitting Catalan ally of Podemos, and even members of the Catalan socialists.

Before yesterday, there were reports that Mariano Rajoy was hoping to regain the support of the Basque Nationalist Party PNV for his 2018 budget. The PP would hope to improve its result in the regional elections, potentially entering into a coalition with other unionist parties. According to the noted parliamentary correspondent Fernando Garea, the government did not count on a deal with the PNV until after the Catalan election, but a budget deal in January would be a precondition for Rajoy being able to serve a full term. Otherwise, early elections beckon. The implication must be that now early elections are on the horizon.

Catalonia Tweets

Rajoy Will Not Survive

As I said in the beginning, Rajoy will not survive his inept handling of the independence vote. In fact he fueled it. Suppression of basic rights will not work, no matter how much the EU buries its head.

A few days ago Eurointelligence mocked Puigdemont's speech in Brussels as a "circus". The real circus act is by Rajoy, the Madrid courts, and the EU.

Libertarian Position

No real Libertarian can support Madrid.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Rajoy party, public money etc. Very serious allegations. Spanish press suppressing news as so inflammatory.Some allegations INDRA diverted 600k euro to T

Massive news, kept off front pages.

The more you read the more Spain looks embedded with corruption at the highest levels.

Do the Catalans believe they have an independent nation? Where are their independent police, and other governmental institutions? What are they doing with half their leadership in detention in Spain and the other half holed up in Brussels?

Eurointelligence might have confused itself perhaps. The Schengen Agreement relates mainly to free movement (i.e. dispensing with checks upon EU passport holders when they cross Schengen Area borders) - so as Puigdemont presumably relied upon when he cross various borders on his flight to Belgium. The European Arrest Warrant flows from a framework decision of the European Council in 2002 (see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/117679/european-arrest-warrant1.pdf ) and is therefore distinct from the Schengen Agreement. It provides inter alia (in Article 2 (1)) that: - "A European arrest warrant may be issued for acts
punishable by the law of the issuing Member State by a
custodial sentence or a detention order for a maximum period
of at least 12 months or, where a sentence has been passed or
a detention order has been made, for sentences of at least four
months."

A futher point to ponder is that the Catalans who are highly likely to stand trial in Spain will be seen to have received a fair trial if the government and judiciary of Spain can make it so - as well they might - and so Puigdemont and his fellow fugitives from justice in Belgium would then risk looking even more cowardly and ridiculous. Puigdemont is a busted flush in all likelihood - and he may well deserve such a fate for having led Catalonia on such a disasterous course.

And also noteworthy perhaps is the Belgian government washing its hand of the affair (and hence distancing itself from local political fallout) for the UK's Daily Mail newspaper reports: - "Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said his government will have no influence over the future of ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont or four other Catalan officials because the European arrest warrant issued by Spain "is a completely legal procedure."

He said, unlike a normal international extradition, "the executive power does not play any role in the EAW procedure. Everything goes through direct contact between the justice authorities."

The Latest: Puigdemont urges Catalan separatists to unite

Is this the farce after the tragedy or the farce before the tragedy?

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The Euro-zone faces a slew of problems but in my eyes, two of the most pressing are that Italy is insolvent and Spain is coming apart with Catalan separatists defying Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Financially Italy is the Euro-zone's Achilles heel, not only is Italy insolvent (it’s not alone in that), but there’s a gigantic effort to hide the depth of its problems. The article below explores these issues.

http://Euro-zone Problems-Italy-Spain And Bad Debt.html

"Without a doubt, the Catalan leaders in exile cannot get a fair trial in Spain". Well, I will descend to your level of argumentation: Without a doubt you can't stop spreading bs nonsense in your blog, more irrelevant every single day.

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