SPAIN’s Socialists have said they are confident that their leader Pedro Sanchez could be invested as prime minister before the culmination of festive celebrations on January 6, King’s Night.

This is despite a delay in Spanish government lawyers presenting a report to the Supreme Court on a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on jailed independence leader Oriol Junqueras.

The National: Oriol JunquerasOriol Junqueras

The ECJ last week said Junqueras, leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), should have had parliamentary immunity from the time he was elected a MEP in May – five months before he was sentenced to 13 years in jail for sedition.

His party has suspended talks with Sanchez over his investiture until the court responds to the ECJ finding.

READ MORE: Fresh calls to free Catalan indy leader Oriol Junqueras

Spain’s solicitor general is the only interested party not to have submitted a response to the ruling to the country’s Supreme Court, but Isabel Celaa, spokesperson for the acting Spanish government, said yesterday that if the report were submitted on Monday, there would still be time to close an agreement with ERC and schedule an investiture debate and vote between January 2-5.

She said talks with ERC were continuing: “There is no plan B. The negotiations have not been broken.”

Celaa said the solicitor general had undertaken a “thorough study” of the ruling, “meeting technical and legal criteria”, but the government had no knowledge of its content or timing.

The ECJ judges carefully avoided saying that Junqueras should be released from prison, only that he had immunity from the time he was elected and should have been released from preventative detention to take up his European Parliament seat. He is now serving a sentence imposed in October. However, the solicitor general is expected to address this in his report, although the final decision will be taken by the Supreme Court.

Junqueras’s party has linked any agreement with the Socialists to an acceptable outcome for him.

The National: Carles PuigdemontCarles Puigdemont

The ECJ ruling has also impacted on former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and former minister Toni Comin, both of whom are exiled in Belgium and were also elected MEPs. Last week they went to the parliament building in Brussels and were allocated provisional passes, despite outstanding European Arrest Warrants for them, issued by Spain.

Should Spain ignore the ECJ ruling and the MEPs’ immunity, there has been speculation that the government could face further action at the European Court of Human Rights from lawyer Andreu Van Den Eynde, who represents Junqueras. Continued non-compliance could also put it at odds with several EU treaties and could ultimately see economic sanctions imposed against it.