Answer given by Mr Reynders on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission is aware of the draft law tabled in the Spanish Parliament on 14 October 2020, to which the Honourable Member refers. The Commission has also taken note that in May 2021 the parliamentary groups sponsoring the draft law withdrew it following calls by the Spanish Minister of Justice. The Commission is furthermore aware of the new legal reform regarding the Council for the Judiciary that came into force on 31 March 2021. The Commission has already expressed the opinion that there is a need to address the issue of the appointment of the members of the Council for the Judiciary, and that it is important to ensure that the Council is not perceived as vulnerable to politicisation (1).
The Commission has also recalled the importance of consulting all relevant stakeholders, as well as where possible the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe on all important justice reforms. The Commission will continue to follow rule of law developments in all Member States, including Spain, in the context of the preparation of the 2021 Rule of Law Report.
Under the Regulation on a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget (2), the Commission may propose appropriate measures for adoption by the Council where breaches of the principles of the rule of law in a Member State affect or seriously risk affecting the sound financial management of the Union budget or the protection of the financial interests of the Union in a sufficiently direct way. The Commission is currently screening the sources and documents from recognised institutions, as listed in the Regulation (3), as well as other available sources, to identify possible relevant breaches of the principles of the rule of law.
1 Answer given by Mr Reynders on behalf of the European Commission to Parliamentary Question E005626/2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-005626-ASW_EN.html
2 Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2092 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2020 on a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget
3 According to the Regulation, these include judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union, reports of the Court of Auditors, the Commission’s annual Rule of Law Report and EU Justice Scoreboard, reports of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) as relevant, and conclusions and recommendations of relevant international organisations and networks, including Council of Europe bodies such as the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the Venice Commission, in particular its rule-of-law checklist, and the European networks of supreme courts and councils for the judiciary
© European Union, 2021 – EP
Source: Answer to a written question – Independence of the judiciary in Spain – E-001995/2021(ASW)