On 13 October 2020, Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Jordi Cañas of the Renew Europe Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Spain’s Second Deputy Prime Minister and elected officials and politicians from the Podemos Party have launched a campaign of bullying, threats and harassment in the media and on social networks against a Spanish high court judge, Manuel García Castellón. A number of MEPs and political group chairs have also been involved. The judge has asked the Supreme Court to investigate Mr Iglesias for alleged crimes involving the discovery and disclosure of secrets, with aggravating circumstances on grounds of gender, damaging IT equipment and making false accusations or fabricating criminal conduct in relation to the theft of his former parliamentary adviser Dina Bouselham’s mobile phone.
This has prompted the judge to complain to the General Council of the Judiciary.
These unacceptable actions have undermined respect for the separation of powers in a democratic state and the rule of law in the EU. With this in mind, how does the Commission intend to tackle the smear campaigns and misinformation intended to undermine the independence of the judiciary in Spain and the EU as a whole?”
On 19 January 2021, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Commission understands that the matter to which the Honourable Member refers to is being investigated by the Spanish authorities and has also been brought to the attention of the Spanish Council for the Judiciary, which is the body competent to ensure the independence of courts and judges. The Commission does not comment on ongoing investigations.
The Commission has published on 30 September 2020 the first annual Rule of Law Report, which is at the centre of the new European Rule of Law Mechanism.
The report provides an overview of the significant rule of law developments in all Member States covering the justice system, anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and freedom, and other institutional issues linked to checks and balances and including a country chapter for Spain.”
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