Brussels says time and again that the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary is imperative, but its refusal to do so through a reduction in the necessary parliamentary majority has been key so that the Government has finished withdrawing a reform designed to circumvent the blockade that the Popular Party has been exercising for years. Thus, the Commissioner of Justice, Didier Reynders, has called on the parties to negotiate, after the PP got up from the table with the agreement almost closed due to its refusal to accept magistrates proposed by United We Can. “They have to go back to the negotiating table”, said the Belgian in a conversation with some Spanish media: “We ask all political forces to sit down and discuss to reach an agreement. But we not only ask for the reform of the CGPJ, but a clear commitment from all political forces that they will comply in the future with European standards in their entirety” .
Brussels informs the Government that the reform to limit the powers of the acting Judiciary “makes the renewal of its members even more imperative”
And what does that translate into for the European Commission? “All political forces must commit to carry out structural reforms that allow Spain to comply with European standards. In the future we expect a reform in Spain so that at least 50% of the members are elected by the judges,” said Reynders (to El País, El Mundo, Efe, Europa Press and Voz Populi), who withdrew the message at a press conference after the meeting of EU European Affairs ministers.
In this sense, Reynders celebrates the official withdrawal announced this Tuesday by the Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, of the reform of the election of judges that lowered the support needed to renew the election from 3/5 to the absolute majority of Congress. governing body of the judges: “Today’s announcement is good news. That after so many discussions it has been decided in Madrid to stop this reform that spoke of three-fifths of the CGPJ and that path has been abandoned is positive. But it is not It is very important that the renewal is completed in order to be fully in line with European standards. That should be the next step. Now it is necessary to complete, by a qualified majority, the renewal of the members of the CGPJ “.
Throughout Reynders has cleared up doubts about the rule of law in Spain: “In Spain we are not facing a systemic problem of the rule of law at all, but rather specific issues as in other member states. We are not facing a systemic problem, or cases such as that of Poland, where the Commission has denounced certain reforms of the judicial system before the Court of Justice. We are not at all in an Article 7 scenario. That of Spain is not a systemic problem, the general assessment of the rule of law in our report 2020 is positive; it deals with concrete and important issues, especially the CGPJ, the link between the Attorney General’s Office and the Executive Power and digitization. ”
Which does not mean that Brussels would come to ask the Spanish Government to go to court if the reform continued its course. “If the reform now withdrawn had been adopted, moving towards a simple majority, the European Commission would have appealed to the Court of Justice of the EU. But it has not been the case. We told the ministers and that is the best formula to get there to solutions “.
In this sense, the European Commission, as it has insisted in the past, considers that the Venice Commission can help find a solution for the CGPJ in Spain. “It is easier for the opposition to accept a proposal from a third party than one that comes directly from the government,” reflects Reynders.
Brussels welcomes that the Government has parked the reform in the election system of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) to circumvent the blockade of the Popular Party, which has lasted for two and a half years. But it also conveys to the Spanish Executive that the reform to limit the powers of a functioning Judicial Power, as is the case, “makes the renewal of its members even more imperative.” This has been communicated by the European Vice President of Values and Transparency, Vera Jourová, to the Spanish Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, in a meeting held this Monday by videoconference. The meeting comes a week after three associations have written to the Community Executive to complain about a reform in the election of the General Council of the Judiciary already parked by the Executive.
“In this regard”, continues Vice President Jourová, “I take note of the guarantees given that the recent reform to limit the powers of the CGPJ when it has acting members reflects the requirements related to the principles of the rule of law and the balances of powers. in Spain”. In this way, the European Commission accepts the government’s position as good and avoids criticizing the reform launched in Spain.
“I have also pointed out that this reform makes the need to elect new members of the CGPJ even more urgent, to allow the body to carry out its essential institutional functions. Regarding the procedure, I have recalled that any reform should always be accompanied by broad consultations, including the Venice Commission, and I hope that this type of consultation will always take place in future reforms, “continued Jourová.