Wednesday, December 7

The European Commissioner for Justice defends the reform of the Judiciary but asks to renew it before

The Justice Commissioner of the European Union, Didier Reynders, has urged the parties to end the “worrying blockade” of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) and “immediately afterwards” undertake a reform of the election system of the members so that a part of the judges are chosen directly by their peers. He thus explained it in a meeting with journalists, in which he reiterated that the renewal would have to take place before Spain assumes the Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2023.

The 48 hours in which Brussels seeks to undo four years of blockade of the PP to the Judiciary

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“I have mentioned [en las reuniones con miembros del Gobierno y la oposición] that it would be better to start the Presidency with a full implementation of the recommendations [del informe sobre el Estado de Derecho de la Comisión Europea]”. That report points to the need to, first, renew the body and, later, reform the election model. Reynders has insisted that the model for the election of members must be modified to “comply with the European standard.”

This Thursday the first full day of his visit to Spain took place, where Reynders discussed with members of the Government and the opposition the paralysis in which the governing body of the judges finds itself. The institution has had its mandate expired since December 2018 due to the PP blocking its renewal and maintains a conservative majority composition inherited from the stage in which the conservatives governed with an absolute majority.

Reynders has traveled to Spain to address this issue with the actors involved in a situation that is included year after year in the report on the rule of law of the European Commission. That document points to the need to renew the governing body of the judges, but it also proposes changing the system of election of the members so that the magistrates are the ones who elect at least part of their governing body. The approach of the change in the system of election of the members is not shared by the PSOE, which maintains that with the current formula the judges already choose their candidates because they prepare a list from which the members are subsequently chosen in the Courts by a three-fifths majority.

The PP clings to the approach of Brussels, which continues without moving an iota from its position. In fact, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo’s party is willing to prolong the blockade until the Spanish Presidency of the EU, which will take place in the second half of 2023. After meeting with Reynders, the party’s deputy secretary for Institutional Policy, Esteban González Pons, has confirmed that the PP will not sit down to negotiate if the Government does not bend to renew the model of election of the members.

The Conservatives want the twelve judicial extraction to be selected directly by their peers, as was the case until 1985. This is a reform that the PP did not promote during its two absolute majorities. He came to include it in a bill in 2011 but ended up deleting it from the final text. Currently, the judges propose candidates —chosen by the associations or endorsed by the non-associated— and the parties choose twelve of them. The law establishes that they must be appointed by a reinforced majority of three-fifths in both Chambers. That is, they must have the support of at least 210 of the 350 deputies and 159 of the 265 senators.

The Government does not want the story of the PP regarding the blockade of the CGPJ to end up prevailing. That is why the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, delivered a document to Reynders this morning that includes the “19 excuses” that the main opposition party has made for refusing to renew the governing body of the judges, subjected to a situation of crisis that will acquire an even greater dimension if the order launched by its president, Carlos Lesmes, is fulfilled. The also president of the Supreme Court said at the beginning of the month that he would resign in “weeks” if the blockade is maintained.