POLAND and Romania have supported Spain over its attempt at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to extradite the exiled Catalan independence leaders from Belgium.

The court is considering a clarification requested by Spain’s Supreme Court following Belgium’s rejection of former Catalan minister Lluis Puig’s extradition.

Its decision could impact on the suspended European arrest warrants against former president Carles Puigdemont and two of his former ministers – Clara Ponsati and Toni Comin – who are all MEPs.

Poland and Romania have submitted opinions to the court similar to that of Spain, questioning whether Belgium was entitled to assess potential breaches of Puig’s basic rights were he to be extradited.

Belgium had rejected handing Puig over to Spain, arguing that his fundamental rights could be violated there, and has also defended its stance at the Luxembourg court.

When the three MEPs had their immunity withdrawn by the European Parliament last March, their lawyers appealed against the move in court.

Their privileges were restored in June and withdrawn again in a provisional ruling, which Puigdemont’s legal team believed meant the arrest warrants against him were suspended.

Although magistrates in Luxembourg denied returning their immunity in November, they said the trio should not be arrested or extradited until the court had reached a final decision.

Puigdemont said on Twitter: “It’s understandable that they feel compelled to side with Spain: it’s one of theirs. Poland and Romania are states that are defying Europe.”

The ECJ’s decision on the case could impact could affect other pending cases such Puigdemont’s recent, surprise arrest in Italy.

He came out on top then with the Spanish judge who had pursued him relentlessly, Pablo Llarena, taking a legal thrashing.

However, should the ECJ opt to agree with the Spanish judiciary, the position could be reversed, and support from two other European countries could potentially give Spain a small taste of its first victory in pursuit of Puigdemont.

A European Commission report on the case has also been prepared, but that remains secret.

According to Spanish daily La Razon (The Reason), the commission’s arguments may be in line with Llarena’s, but it concedes that other sources have said the report is “very ambiguous”, as EU decisions can tend to be.