On 14 October 2020, Members of the European Parliament: Maite Pagazaurtundúa, Jordi Cañas, Adrián Vázquez Lázara and Luis Garicano of the Renew Europe Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“PSOE and Podemos. the two parties that form Spain’s Government, have proposed a reform of the Organic Law on the Judiciary which bypasses any opposition to the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ).
The country’s two leading judicial associations, the Professional Association of Magistrates (APM) and the Francisco de Vitoria Judges Association, have been highly critical of this reform and assert that it affects the separation of powers to the extent that aligns Spain closer to countries such as Poland and Hungary.
The recent Commission report on the rule of law in Spain expressed clear concerns about the CGPJ. According to the report, the Council of Europe deems it crucial that, for the sake of public confidence, any initiation of legal proceedings is, and appears to be, impartial, objective and free from any undue influence, particularly of a political nature.
1. Will the Commission ask the Spanish Government for information on these changes to the legislation on the judiciary which aim to facilitate appointments by the Government and may therefore affect the independence of the highest judicial governing body?
2. Will it take this into account in the next Rule of Law Report?”
On 20 January 2021, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Commission has already expressed its position regarding the legislative proposal the Honourable Members refer to, calling on the Spanish authorities to ensure that the Council for the Judiciary is not perceived as vulnerable to politicisation, and recalling that the issue of the lack of nomination of the members of the Council for the Judiciary has to be addressed in line with the European standards on judicial independence.
The Commission continues to follow closely the developments in this respect.
The Rule of Law Report is an annual exercise. Relevant topics and developments may be covered in future editions.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/legal-right-justice-law-of-nature-5293006/