The Prime Minister ignores the warning from Brussels
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has decided to ignore the warning of the European Commission, which this Thursday questioned the reform project of the General Council of the Judiciary. Sánchez warned this Friday in Brussels that he will maintain the project unless the Popular Party agrees to negotiate and agree to renew the Council. “If the PP uses the law to block the Constitution, the legislative power has the responsibility to modify the law so that the Constitution is complied with,” stressed the executive leader in Brussels after attending the European summit held this Thursday and Friday.
The continuity of the project exposes the Government to a head-on collision with the European Commission’s Justice Department, which advocates reducing political interference in judicial body appointments and ensuring that the Council “is not perceived as vulnerable to politicization” .
Brussels has already intervened on previous occasions to stop judicial reforms allegedly contrary to Community law. The Commission even requested and obtained precautionary measures from the European Court of Justice to prevent a reform in Poland that it considered harmful to judicial independence.
European Commission sources have declined to comment on the statements of the Spanish chief executive. But they warn: “Our position is and continues to be very clear, which is the one expressed this Thursday.” From the department of Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, it is indicated that they will continue to “closely follow the evolution of this matter”.
Sánchez has offered in Brussels a way to settle the conflict that would pass through the will of the PP to return to the negotiating table to renew the positions of the CGPJ, a relay blocked for two years for lack of agreement. The President of the Government has called on the PP to negotiate “as soon as possible” the renewal of the Council of the Judiciary with the premises agreed in July, when there was a preliminary agreement to appoint 10 progressive members and another 10 conservative, with a progressive president.
“We are willing to sit down from today to reach an agreement,” said Sánchez in an appearance before the media in Brussels. The solution, for Sánchez, is for the PP to “get back on track.” “Whoever holds the Judiciary hostage is the party that does not facilitate its renewal,” he added, referring to the PP. The president has defended the proposal put forward in Congress by the PSOE and United We Can and recalled that the two parties add 155 seats and do not have a majority to carry out the reform, so they will have to gain support.
“We must remember that the General Council emanates from a parliamentary majority of 2011 and we are in 2020,” said Sánchez. “The parliamentary majorities have changed and this has to be seen in the governing bodies as mandated by the Constitution.” The president believes that “the solution is for the Popular Party to return to the path of its State responsibility, to the path of fulfilling its constitutional obligations” and to be able to address “the renewal of a fundamental body for the proper functioning” of democracy Spanish.
The Spanish Government has received a notice from the European Commission, which has criticized the reform project of the General Council of the Judiciary promoted by the PSOE and United We Can. Despite the fact that Brussels had urged the renewal of the body, pending since 2018, the Community Executive considers that the legislative initiative puts judicial independence at risk and that it could violate European norms. For this reason, the Community Executive chaired by Ursula von der Leyen, has demanded that Sánchez consult with all the parties involved. The Spanish executive is confident of being able to clear up the Commission’s concerns in the coming weeks.
The Government attributes the doubts of the community body to the smear campaign against Spain that the Popular Party, led by Dolors Montserrat MEP, has carried out in Brussels since the beginning of the legislature. “The PP has used everything to overthrow the Government of Spain during the pandemic, even coming to the community institutions,” Sánchez complained. “It is not new, it is part of a strategy implemented by the PP since it has been in opposition. It seems to me a mistake because it is not an opposition to the Government but to the interests of the country.