Clara Ponsati, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin are wanted by Spain for their part in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum
In a secret ballot held last night but only revealed this morning, more than 400 MEPs voted to lift their immunity, almost 250 against and more than 40 MEPs abstained.
Puigdemont is expected to raise the issue at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after a report from the parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee recommending the removal of their immunity was leaked to the media.
This is the third time the Spanish Supreme Court has tried have them extradited, after previous attempts failed in Scotland, Belgium and Germany.
Losing their immunity will not affect their status as MEPs, which they will retain until they are barred from office by a conviction.
Aamer Anwar, lawyer for Ms Ponsati, tweeted: “Shameful vote by @Europarl_EN giving into Spain to lift immunity of MEPs @ClaraPonsati @toni_comin @KRLS Who face extradition & political persecution for exercising the democratic will of the Catalan people-The legal battle goes on”
The Spanish government immediately welcomed the decision by the European Union’s legislature as a victory for the rule of law and against those who sought to break the north-eastern region away from the rest of Spain.