A EUROPEAN Court ruling on whether or not Oriol Junqueras has political immunity as a member of the European Parliament could lead to “major changes” over his incarceration and the status of two exiled politicians who have also been elected as MEPs.

In an exclusive interview with The National, the speaker of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent, said that despite inaction from the bloc, Catalonia still had to look to Europe for justice for the nine pro-independence figures who have been jailed over the October 2017 independence referendum.

While Junqueras, former Catalan vice-president and leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), has been sentenced to 13 years for sedition, former president Carles Puigdemont and ex-minister Toni Comin are in exile in Belgium. The trio were all elected MEPs in the European election in May.

READ MORE: Roger Torrent: Catalonia will not give up on independence

Torrent said: “On December 19, the Court of Justice of the European Union must make a decision on the immunity of Oriol Junqueras, president of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, who has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after being elected MEP in the latest elections.

“This decision can lead to major changes, and it should be taken into account that the EU advocate general believes that Junqueras should be recognised as a MEP.

“Therefore, despite of all difficulties, we must look for justice in Europe, since we cannot have it in Spain.

“The decision of the court ... is important for Oriol Junqueras, Carles Puigdemont and Antoni Comin. All of them have been elected by the Catalan citizens, so they have the right to act as MEPs with all their rights guaranteed.”

Torrent’s remarks came as the ERC continued talks with Spain’s acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez, who is seeking the abstention of its MPs to enable him to be sworn in as PM. He said Sanchez would have to change his attitude and be prepared to negotiate a political solution to the impasse.

“If he wants ERC’s support, he must change his attitude and be willing to negotiate in order to resolve the conflict between Catalonia and Spain by political means,” said Torrent.

“If he is not prepared to negotiate with a clear calendar, and with no limitations, ERC will not facilitate the investiture of Pedro Sánchez.

“We have a clear proposal: amnesty and referendum to resolve the situation.

“If Pedro Sanchez has another proposal, he has to put it on the table. The problem is that he does not manage to offer any solution, and this may be for two reasons: either he has none, and that would be a sign of enormous incompetence, or he is afraid to expose it because he does not feel to be able to win at the polls, which would be a sign of political irresponsibility.”