The umpteenth blockade of the negotiation between the PSOE and the PP to renew the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), whose mandate has expired for almost four years, has forced Brussels to harden its tone. The European Commission has insisted this Friday that the renewal of the governing body of the judges should run “priority” and it demands measures to reduce the interference of the executive and legislative powers over the judiciary.
“It’s very important proceed with the renewal of the Council of the Judiciary as a priority“, said the spokeswoman for Justice of the Community Executive, Anitta Hipper when asked about the breakdown of negotiations between the Government of Pedro Sanchez and the opposition of Alberto Nunez Feijoo. This demand from Brussels is reflected “clearly” in the latest report on the situation of the rule of law in Spain published in July.
“It is key that the lack of appointments of members for the Council of the Judiciary be addressed as a priority,” the spokeswoman insisted.
[Bruselas amonesta a España por tercer año consecutivo por el bloqueo del Poder Judicial]
“We are in contact with the Spanish authorities, who have a clear recommendation. And once again, we have underlined the importance of reduce the influence of the executive and legislative power over the judiciaryin order to strengthen judicial independence,” said Hipper.
This message was conveyed personally by the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, both to the Government and to the Popular Party during his visit to Spain at the end of September. However, his efforts to try to mediate failed and failed to end the blockade.
Despite everything, the Community Executive still does not want to talk about infringement procedures against Spain nor of a sanctioning file for systemic risks to the rule of law.
In its report on the rule of law in Spain published in July, Brussels underlines that “andl fact that the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary has been pending since December 2018 still a concern“. It is the third consecutive year that the Commission admonishes Spain for blocking the governing body of the judges.
[Diez claves de la ruptura: entre las presiones al PP y el arma política que Feijóo le da a Sánchez]
But for the first time, Brussels makes a specific recommendation to the Spanish authorities in this area, the exact wording of which is as follows: “Proceed with the renewal of the CGPJ as a matter of priority and initiate, immediately after the renewal, a process with a view to adapting the appointment of the member judges, taking into account European standards“. The Community Executive demands that at least half of the Council be elected by the judges themselves.
The Commission of Ursula von der Leyen It has been showing its concern about the blockade of the Judiciary in Spain since September 2020, when it published its first report on the situation of the rule of law in the EU.
It was the Community Executive that forced the Sánchez government to withdraw his controversial proposal to reform the election system of the CGPJ, which lowered the threshold to elect the 12 members from the race from three-fifths to an absolute majority. A reform that according to Brussels went against the recommendations of the EU, which claim to end the image of politicization of the governing body of judges.
Nevertheless, Brussels has remained silent on the other reform that prevents the CGPJ from making new appointments while his term is expired. He has not commented on the change either. ad hoc that it does oblige to appoint the corresponding members of the Constitutional Court.
In any case, the persistent blockade of the governing body of the judges in Spain is increasingly worrying the Community Executive, which has expressed its discomfort through all possible channels. So far B.ruselas has avoided equating the case of Spain with those of Hungary and Poland, countries filed for endangering the rule of law. But the situation could change if no way out is found.
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