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"I have to tell you that most of the time of my meeting with Vice-President Vera Jourova and Commissioner Didier Reynders has been to talk about the renewal of the CGPJ. The concern about the lack of renewal as a result of the PP's blockade is maximum, because it is affecting not only the normality of the institutionality in the governing body of the judges, but also citizens in the right to judicial protection in a reasonable time (...) We have also talked about the amnesty bill that is being processed in Congress. And I can say that there is zero concern in the Commission about health and the strength of the rule of law and the separation of powers. Zero. None."
This is the message that the Minister of the Presidency, Relations with the Parliament and Justice, Félix Bolaños, wanted to convey this Thursday after his trip to Brussels.
On the official, public agenda, there are only three appointments: a meeting with his predecessor Juan Fernando López Aguilar, chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs; an appointment with Vice-President Jourova; and another – four hours later – with Didier Reynders, with whom she has been having friction for several years.
The minister and Pedro Sánchez's right-hand man on this issue assures that the Commission's obsession is the renewal of the CGPJ and that the bulk of the conversations have been dedicated to this, especially with the Belgian, who for three years has put the issue as the most delicate and worrying point in the reports on the rule of law. And that he has resolved the doubts of the commissioners about the Amnesty Law, although he did not want to go into details. Neither on the substance, nor on the possible fears regarding the processing and inclusion of amendments.
"They are perfectly aware of the bill that was presented, which is in accordance with the Constitution, with the Spanish legal system, with EU law, with the values of Europe, with that value of dialogue: understanding each other, building from a conflict to generate coexistence. Zero concern about the health and strength of the rule of law," Bolaños insisted.
The head of Justice has played down what he has called "noise", the complaints of citizens, magistrates, lawyers and political parties. And the stewards have opted for a more than discreet profile on Thursday. "It was a pleasure to meet Minister Bolaños. We discussed the Amnesty Law, the National Council of the Judiciary and broader aspects of democracy and the rule of law," Jourova said on her Twitter account.
"Very good meeting with the new Minister of Justice Bolaños. We took stock of the situation of the Council of the Judiciary and the latest developments regarding the Amnesty Law. The dialogue will continue with the Spanish authorities," the Belgian commissioner agreed.
"I've seen it firsthand. I would be grateful to the first opposition party not to try to damage the reputation of our country for failed political goals. The debate in the European Parliament the other day and the debate in the Committee of the Regions show that there is no concern. It is legitimate to oppose the law from a political point of view, but they should not play with the good name of Spain. This is where you show yourself to be patriotic, by defending and speaking well of Spain, not generating noise, doubts, where there are none," added the head of Justice and the Presidency of the Government of Spain.
CRITICISM OF THE CGPJ
In his appearance before the media after the meeting, after insisting that the priority was the renewal of the governing body of the judges, but downplaying the importance of the reform of the system of election of members, another demand made by Brussels, just after as soon as that renewal takes place, Bolaños ironically criticized the CGPJ harshly for its vote, today, against the suitability of the Attorney General chosen by the Government. "It's outside the law," Bolaños said of the Council's position.
- Félix Bolaños
- European Commission