• Justice.Pedro Sánchez is willing to withdraw his reform and negotiate from "tomorrow" the renewal of the CGPJ

  • Politics: The PP proposes that the Courts elect the CGPJ from a broad list raised by the judges

Last Thursday Pedro Sánchez changed country, but he could not change the problem.

The fire it was leaving in Spain due to its plans to force the renewal of

the General Council of the Judiciary

(CGPJ) also burned in


, where years of battle with




have made political control of the judiciary a particularly sensitive issue. Europea (CE) is the guardian of the

Treaties of the Union

, but it is also, on many occasions, the teacher of toddlers.

I ate them

Community members, officials and spokespersons have over the years become experts in all kinds of national disputes.

That's why every message that comes out of the

Berlaymont building

It is more than thought. “The Commission has stressed the importance of reducing the influence of the legislative or executive power over the judiciary in order to reinforce its independence.

It is important to ensure that the CGPJ is not perceived as vulnerable to politicization.

These words of the Commission's spokesperson on the situation in Spain, pronounced shortly before Sánchez's arrival, were minimized by the environment of the president of the



But the truth is that they were not the result of a random departure, but rather the response of Justice after several days pondering what to say and how. "Rather than saying what to do, they warn of what could happen if it continues around" , explain sources from the Commission.

From the presidential entourage they admit that the slap "was greater than expected, more for the moment than for the tone."

"These things do not happen by chance," they acknowledge. In Brussels, nobody believes that what is happening in Spain is similar to what is happening in Poland.

But the moment of the reform to withdraw the qualified parliamentary majority to elect the CGPJ cannot be worse, because it gives arguments to



And in Brussels they have learned their lesson and know that, to avoid problems, the best thing is to nip the problem at its roots. In his statement, the Commission spokesman referred to the report that just two weeks earlier called for the depoliticization of the governing bodies of the Power of attorney.

The report was added to a long list of European actions that from different spheres have pointed in a single direction: the opposite to which the proposal is directed.



We can

they took Monday to



"These facts confirm the importance of ensuring that the CGPJ is not perceived as an institution exposed to political influence", reads the section referring to Spain of the European Commission report on the rule of law in the EU.

It was presented two weeks before the plans of Spain were known, so there are no direct mentions.

But the Commission had previously ruled on Poland, where the election of the Council by an unreinforced majority of Parliament had also been agreed. In Poland the equivalent of the CGPJ is the National Council of the Judiciary.

It is enough to change National for General and you can read what the Commission could say about Spain in subsequent reports.

"The new rules on the appointment of judge-members of the National Council of the Judiciary significantly increase the influence of Parliament over the Council and negatively affect its independence, contrary to what is foreseen in the European criteria." And it added a complaint which points directly to the Spanish case: "In addition, in the event that a three-fifths majority is not reached, the judges-members of the Council will be appointed by the [Parliament] by an absolute majority of votes." Appointment of judges / members of the National Council of the Judiciary significantly increases the influence of Parliament over the Council and negatively affects its independence in contradiction with European standards ”, he concluded.


This body, which represents 47 European countries, has issued a recommendation on how the councils of the judiciary should be chosen.

"No less than half of the members must be judges selected by their counterparts."


This advisory body of the Council of Europe, made up of constitutional experts and in which 61 countries participate, has made clear the importance of qualified majorities.

"The Venice Commission has repeatedly recommended that the members of a council of the judiciary elected by a parliament should be elected by a qualified majority."

He also highlights that a reinforced majority "favors agreement and the election of more neutral candidates."

That the spokesperson for the European Commission expressly referred to the criteria of the Venice Commission was no accident.


Spain has been under scrutiny for years by El Greco, a Council of Europe body focused on fighting corruption.

In its recommendations, it invariably insists that Parliament's control of the election of the CGPJ involves "a risk of politicization."

El Greco yearned for "the elimination of the election of the judicial turn by the politicians", and now he will run into even simpler political control.

"The political authorities should not participate, at any time, in the selection process of the judicial turn," insists El Greco.



European Association of Magistrates

he reacted quickly.

The day after knowing the intentions of the PSOE and Podemos, the European Association of Magistrates sent a statement showing its "great concern" for the "step back in the fundamental objectives for the independence of the judiciary."

"This option will increase the risk of political influence," added the letter representing 40 judges' associations.

The statements did nothing but follow what was collected in the

Universal Statute of the Judge

: «The Council of the Judiciary must be completely independent from the other powers of the State.

It must be made up of a majority of judges chosen by their peers ”.


To the judicial list can be added the reports of the

Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)

, launched by European justice ministers.

"When its composition is mixed (judges and non-judges), the CCJE considers that in order to avoid any manipulation or undue pressure, the Council of Justice must have a substantial majority of judges elected by their peers."

The Council also maintains that "political authorities such as Parliament or the Executive Branch should not be involved in any phase of the selection process" of the governing body of judges.



Court of Justice of the EU

It has also ruled on the importance of the system of election of the body that directs the Judicial Power.

When resolving a dispute relating to the Polish case,


He argued that one of the criteria for determining the independence of a court is to examine, in turn, the independence of the governing body from the judges that had chosen it.

Along these lines, the Union's attorney general had ruled: “A chamber composed exclusively of judges selected by [...] the National Council of the Judiciary, which, taking into account its model, does not satisfy these requirements [for independence] composition and operation, its independence from the Legislative and Executive Powers is not guaranteed. "

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