Article 39 - Right to vote and to stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament
Key facts of the case:
Request for a preliminary ruling from the Tribunal Supremo.
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Expedited procedure — Institutional law — Citizen of the European Union elected to the European Parliament while being held in provisional detention in the context of criminal proceedings — Article 14 TEU — Concept of ‘Member of the European Parliament’ — Article 343 TFEU — Immunities necessary for the performance of the tasks of the European Union — Protocol (No 7) on the privileges and immunities of the European Union — Article 9 — Immunities enjoyed by Members of the European Parliament — Immunity as regards travel — Immunities as regards sessions — Personal, temporal and material scope of the various immunities — Waiver of immunity by the European Parliament — Request to waive immunity from a national court — Act concerning the election of Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage — Article 5 — Term of office — Article 8 — Electoral procedure — Article 12 — Verification of the credentials of Members of the European Parliament following the official declaration of the election results — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Article 39(2) — Election of Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage in a free and secret ballot — Right to stand as a candidate at elections.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 9 of the Protocol (No 7) on the privileges and immunities of the European Union must be interpreted as meaning that:
39) Finally, in the fourth place, in the event that the immunities provided for in the first and second paragraphs of Article 9 of the Protocol on the privileges and immunities of the European Union are applicable, the referring court has doubts regarding, in essence, the consequences that should follow from this with respect to the action brought by Mr Junqueras Vies against the order referred to in paragraph 25 above. More specifically, the referring court seeks to ascertain, by the third question referred, whether – and if so how and by whom – the protection attached to those immunities may be balanced against the other rights and interests to be taken into consideration in dealing with such an action, in the light of Article 39 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the corresponding provisions of Article 3 of Protocol No 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed in Rome on 4 November 1950.
86) That immunity thereby also serves to ensure the effectiveness of the right to stand as a candidate at elections guaranteed in Article 39(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which constitutes the expression in the Charter of the principle of direct universal suffrage in a free and secret ballot enshrined in Article 14(3) TEU and Article 1(3) of the Electoral Act (see, by analogy, judgment of 6 October 2015, Delvigne, C‑650/13, EU:C:2015:648, paragraph 44), by allowing persons who have been elected Members of the European Parliament to complete the steps necessary to take their seats.