The PP has been blocking the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary for almost four years. A body that coincidentally comes from the absolute majority of Mariano Rajoy. After more than 1,200 days in power, the popular continue to stall and at the same time maneuver in Brussels to win over the European Commission while they have dominated the judiciary for a decade.
The Justice Representative of the PP, MEP Esteban González Pons, Vice President of the European People’s Group in the European Parliament, held a secret meeting, which the parties did not report, off the agenda and kept secret, with European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders. according to community sources. The meeting took place last Tuesday, September 13, in Strasbourg, on the eve of the debate on the state of the country.
“We never publish meetings with MEPs, interaction with the European Parliament is a common thing for commissioners,” European Commission sources explain, justifying the absence of a meeting on the Belgian commissioner’s public agenda: “Interaction is normal. with members of the European Parliament.
Sources close to González Pons confirm that the MEP has not discussed the CGPJ issue with Reynders, although they acknowledge that the two have a rocky relationship as the MEP is vice president in charge of justice in the European People’s Group. Sources claim that all conversations on this issue in the format of a meeting, video call or by phone have so far been conducted with the Vice President of the European Commission, Vera Yurova.
Pons sent several letters to Yurova and Reynders. In the letters, González Pons called for an “urgent meeting” to express his point of view, which is to blame the government for the blockade that the PP has been implementing for four years, under the pretext of reforming the system of electing judges. by the judges themselves.
Pons, however, was unable to meet Yurova last week in Strasbourg.
Maneuvers of conservative members
In recent weeks, Conservative members have used an arsenal of pretexts to delay the renewal of the Constitution. Members of the CGPJ elected by the PP initially complained about scheduling problems with the Progressives, and when they did, they barely made any progress, according to Marcos Pinheiro.
Among other things, the Conservatives want the problem of vacancies in the Supreme Court to be solved – the judiciary is prohibited from producing acting ones – and now they are asking to wait until September 30, when Carlos Lesmes meets with Justice Commissioner Reynders.
But the biggest stumbling block in the meetings last Friday and this Wednesday was that the Conservatives failed to nominate a single constitutional candidate. They claim that no one approached them interested in becoming a magistrate of this court. Progressives, who have a list of nine names, claim that this is nothing more than another delay.
Thus, after the deadline for the extension, there was no progress in these weeks. In fact, right now there is not even an agreement on when the next meeting between the two sectors will take place.
First appointments, then reform
Two weeks ago, Vice President Yurova wrote a letter to CGPJ President Carlos Lesmes demanding an immediate renewal of the senior judges. In his letter, he denounced that the judiciary is a “hostage” of the blockade.
Next week, it will be Reinders who will travel to Spain to discuss this issue with the government, the opposition – González Pons himself – associations of judges and people involved in the situation that the European Commission collects year after year in its report on the rule. law. His agenda is as follows: Attorney General; two associations of magistrates; Vice President Nadia Calvino; presidency minister Felix Bolaños; Minister of Consumption Alberto Garzon; Minister of Justice Pilar Llop; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albarez; Citizens Representative Edmundo Bal; NP representative Esteban González Pons; Hay Low Foundation; CGPJ President Carlos Lesmes; and TC President Pedro González Trevijano.
“We would like the appointments to be made and the reform to be carried out very quickly. Hence the interest in discussing both with the majority and with the opposition in order to achieve the goal of the reform,” Reynders explains before the trip: “We are trying to organize a discussion, a dialogue between political forces. Because the renewal of the CGPJ, like the appointment of some constituent bodies, requires a majority, so cooperation between the main political groups in the country is necessary. And here we have to play a dual role: first, to clarify what are the expectations, with the rule of law report and its recommendations, expectations that are linked to European standards, such as the Council of Europe, of which Spain is a member in the sense that the majority members of the CGPJ are judges elected by their peers elected by other judges, without interference from politics, government or parliament.”
“Besides that,” Reynders continues, “we can also have a dialogue. This is not just an invitation to discussion, but an attempt to bring people together. And this is what I have done before, but I will also try to do during this visit.”
Of course, the European Commissioner insists on separating the situation in Spain from that in countries such as Hungary and Poland, given the procedures of their encroachments on the rule of law: “We must clearly distinguish the situation that we have in other Member States, where there is a regression and deterioration of the situation. The difference is very obvious. It’s not relevant. The challenge is to bring together both the majority political parties and the opposition, the government and of course the parliament, appoint new members, and quickly initiate reform.”
“If the situation continues for a long time, if we see within a few years that the situation is not improving, obviously we will have to think about other mechanisms. But now, for the first time, we have received a recommendation from the rule of law report,” Reynders concludes.
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