Many Catalans have long called for an independent Catalonia. The dispute over the region’s future divides not only Spanish but also Catalan society.
In October 2017, the Catalan regional government called a referendum on an independent Catalonia. Spanish authorities deployed police in a bid to stop the vote. In the end, the result was unrepresentative, and Catalan politicians and activists were tried in court or fled abroad.
An ally of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has been elected parliamentary speaker, boosting his efforts to form another government. The speaker's appointment was secured thanks to support from Catalan separatists.
Carles Puigdemont and two other MEPs had appealed a 2021 vote to strip them of legal immunity. They are wanted by Spanish authorities for their role in Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence in 2017.