Your Excellency Sir Didier ReyndersEuropean Commissioner for Justice.
I have the audacity to address you, Commissioner, after following for many years the situation of justice in this country and, especially, the transformation of the rule of law in the Spanish Judicial State, borrowing the expression of the German professor Bernd Ruthers (‘The secret revolution, from the rule of law to the judicial state’, Martial Pons2020).
The European Commission, first through its predecessor in office, Věra Jourová, and for several months, by yourself, you have called for the need to “normalize & rdquor; what is “abnormal” in Spain: among these anomalies are the expiration of the mandate of magistrates who are not replaced and the existence of a Judicial Power, that is, the governing body of the judges, the General Council of the Judicial Power (CGPJ), whose members remain without be renewed from December 4, 2018.
But during each visit by a European Commissioner for Justice or on the occasion of a statement from the European Union, the messages transmitted are manipulated and used so that, look where, those who block the renovation bring water to their own mill.
I have noted the date of December 4, 2018 because it is the starting point to lead to the current situation. In November of that year, the two parties, the Popular Party and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), which had been in government for just under six months at the time, agreed to renew the CGPJ within the terms required by the Constitution. With the same election system in force during the previous governments of Jose Maria Aznar and Mariano Rajoy, both from the PP. That is to say: there were no objections to the election system on the part of the main opposition party, then led by Pablo Casado.
But the pact between the Government of Pedro Sanchez and the PP, days before the expiration of the term to carry out the renewal, had, so to speak, a “political accident”: the leaking of the name of the one who would be the new president of the Supreme Court and CGPJ, the then president of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court, Manuel Marchena. And in that accident, the PP’s point of view on the pact emerged (see a paragraph of the WhatsApp text sent by the then PP spokesman in the Senate, Ignacio Cosidoto the members of his caucus to justify why the party should support the agreement).
According to Cosidó, the negotiation allowed his party to have fewer members than the PSOE. In the pact, the PP would have 9 members, but, beware, the president (Marchena) was listed as number 10 and the PSOE rose as the leader of 11 members, although not all of them were exactly theirs.
“It was a great move & rdquor ;, he said Sewing. Because, he counted among the objectives the following: “And also controlling the Second Chamber [la que enjuicia a los aforados] from behind].
The scandal sank the pact.
Therefore, do not believe, Commissioner, that the blocking of renewal is caused by the election system. He didn’t have it then and he doesn’t have it now.
The boycott that followed has spread throughout the legislature. And now that there is less time left for the general elections -which the Government intends to hold in February 2024-, the PP, which the polls already place in the Palacio de la Moncloa, has even more reasons to frustrate the renewal. Or prolong the lockdown as long as possible.
The Spanish Judicial State
You may not see, Commissioner, why. And this fits into what I have called the Spanish Judicial State, at the beginning of this letter. Justice has become a power to which the political forces resort to neutralize the adversary. And not only drink in ordinary courts. Also in the Supreme Court and in the Constitutional Court.
As stated by the former magistrate Henry Lopez and current counselor in the Government of Madrid “the PP has the support of the majority of the judicial career & rdquor ;, in line with the current president, whose mandate expired since June 12, Pedro Gonzalez-Trevijano: “Jurists are almost all conservatives, because Law is a conservative science & rdquor ;.
And now, Commissioner, when you are about to visit Madrid, there is a new maneuver under way. It had already been agreed in the CGPJ, under threat of resignation from the president, Carlos Lesmes, whom you have supported, to appoint the two magistrates that correspond to him to replace the two whose mandate expired on June 12.
The members of the CGPJ laughed at the legal term given by the new norm approved in Congress last July, namely, that these two appointments should be announced on September 13 to coincide in a simultaneous act with the two that the Government must designate .
The new maneuver
The new maneuver is that since you are scheduled to travel to Madrid next Monday, September 30, it is an “opportunity & rdquor; to relaunch the renewal negotiations of the CGPJ… and, therefore, it is not necessary to comply with the appointment of the magistrates of the TC.
It is the umpteenth maneuver. And since they are involving you in it, it is good to know what the conservative members of the CGPJ are up to. In Spain we say that the one who warns is not a traitor.
At this time, very informed men such as the former Minister of Justice of the Government of Mariano Rajoy, Rafael Catalaexpress their doubts that an agreement can be produced to renew the CGPJ.
Catala, when Alberto Nunez Feijoo, as soon as he took the reins of the PP, it seemed, last April, to change the line of blockade initiated by Casado, he pointed out that this was not going to be the case. He was right.
And last week, on September 15, in a colloquium with three other former Justice Ministers held in Huesca, he said: “I am not at all optimistic about reaching a renewal agreement, I see great difficulties because in this legislature there has been no important pact between PP and PSOE & rdquor ;.
A magistrate consulted about the ongoing negotiations for the appointment of the two magistrates of the TC, points out: “Now they are very concerned about the CGPJ. They talk about the visit of Reynders it can be a push. Another excuse for not appointing the two magistrates of the TC. They have passed the law through the triumphal arch, they break the law not only because of the deadlines but also because of the substance, because, now they say, ‘it makes no sense to appoint the magistrates when the CGPJ is about to be renewed.’ And the members ask the progressives to give a single name of their proposal to appoint a magistrate with a progressive bias and that they will say if they agree. It is not about whether they accept or not, because by that rule they will say I do not want this one because it is the one you want and that way I annoy you more & rdquor ;.
On September 29, Commissioner Reynders, an ordinary plenary session of the CGPJ will take place. Lesmes wanted to have both appointments ready. And CGPJ sources work with the hypothesis that the conservative sector will object to appointing them with the argument that you come on the 30th and that, therefore, no Extraordinary Plenary Session should be convened to make those appointments in the TC. Total, says the milonga, now “we are ready to renew” the CGPJ.
Commissioner, a recommendation: “Don’t let yourself be used”.