Fri, 18 Oct 2019

Lugano [Switzerland], Sept 15 (Sputnik/ANI): Russia and the European Union (EU) should improve bilateral relations as it serves the interests of both the sides, said Catalan politician Carles Puigdemont.

"Russia and the EU should improve bilateral relations. It seems absurd to me that now we have more problems with Russia than it was during the Soviet era. I am sure that the future will be achieved through dialogue and cooperation between the West and the East, and therefore improving relations is in the interests of both Russia and the EU," Puigdemont told Sputnik in an interview.

"Several years have passed since the introduction of sanctions and now we see the results. The time has come to change that. This could be the first step toward making Europe a protagonist in resolving the Ukrainian crisis," Puigdemont added.

Puigdemont fled Spain shortly after the Catalan independence referendum, which was organised by his government in October 2017. Madrid called the referendum illegal and dissolved the Catalan parliament in response.

A number of former Catalan officials were later put on trial, and a warrant for Puigdemont's arrest was issued. However, Spain's Supreme Court dropped the European arrest warrant against him and several of his aides a year later. The warrant for his arrest in Spain still remains in force.

The Catalan politician, who is currently residing in Belgium, was elected in the European Parliament on May 26 from the Lliures per Europa coalition, but he did not arrive in Spain to undergo necessary formal procedures for obtaining the status of the member of the European Parliament. The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is now considering his case.

The politician expressed hope that the court would make a decision in his favour so that he could represent the Catalans in the European Parliament. (Sputnik/ANI)

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