May 14, 2021

Brussels asks to “address the blockade” of the Judiciary “by consulting all parties” and avoiding “politicization”


The PSOE and United We Can are increasing pressure for the PP to agree to renew the General Council of the Judiciary, whose mandate expired two years ago now, and on Wednesday they registered a bill in Congress to reform the current norm and prevent it from the governing body of judges can make appointments while they are in office, something that the current one, chaired by Carlos Lesmes, has done 57 times with the term expired. The last, By the end of october.

The European Commission warns Spain that it must "reduce the influence of the Executive or Legislative Power in the Judicial"

The European Commission warns Spain that it must “reduce the influence of the Executive or Legislative Power in the Judiciary”

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“As you will recall”, said the spokesman for the Commissioner for Justice of the European Commission, Christian Wigand, “we had expressed a clear position that it is important to address the issue of the General Council of the Judiciary [bloqueado] and, at the same time, ensure that it is not perceived as vulnerable to politicization. ”

Wigand has recognized that the Community Executive is “aware” of the “new proposal”, has already added: “It is important that the Member States, when reforming the judicial system, carry out the necessary consultations, if necessary, with all the stakeholders, with all relevant stakeholders and with the Venice Commission [del Consejo de Europa]. Member States must follow European standards to ensure that judicial independence is not compromised. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and await further information from the Spanish government. ”

The Venice Commission is an advisory body to the Council of Europe, made up of independent experts in the field of constitutional law.

Who are all the stakeholders? “When I say all relevant stakeholders, I mean all relevant stakeholders. That includes, of course, relevant actors in the political sphere, but also in the judicial sphere,” Wigand replied.

A week ago, the Spanish Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, held a meeting with the Commissioner of Justice, Didier Reynders, but Wigand has not confirmed whether the minister communicated the subsequent record of the proposed reform of the functions of the Judiciary: “There was a videoconference meeting last week between the Commissioner and the Spanish Minister of Justice on different issues. Firstly, on the European prosecutor, something that the Commissioner has discussed with many ministers in recent days to ensure that he can get started quickly. And also on some other issues, including the report on the rule of law and the question of the General Council of the Judiciary. And the minister assured the commissioner that the necessary consultation would be carried out with the Venice Commission. Of course, we will continue working constructively with the government on this issue. ”

“We will continue to work constructively with our counterparts,” concluded the community spokesperson: “We do not pass judgment on bills. We reiterate general principles that are important and that apply horizontally and, of course, are relevant to the case in question” .

The limitation of the functions of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) when its mandate has expired was included in the initiative that both groups registered last October – which also included changes in the system of election of the members – and that was withdrawn weeks later to favor an agreement with the Popular Party for the renewal of this body. This new bill is focused solely on assessing the functions that the governing body of judges can perform when their members have not been renewed in time.

The main limitation is that he cannot make appointments to the judicial leadership as he has done in the last two years despite being in office. Among them, the recent appointment of six magistrates in the Supreme Court. If the mandate has expired, the body must limit itself to performing those functions that are necessary to ensure its operation and that do not involve interference in the powers of the incoming Council. “In this way, it is guaranteed that there is no paralysis in its operation,” says the explanatory memorandum of the proposal.

In these two years of expired mandate, the CGPJ chaired by Lesmes has made 57 appointments. From them, 12 at the Supreme Court, whose magistrates are irrevocable and remain in office until retirement.

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