Rule of law at risk in Spain

22.11.2023 15:47

Rule of law at risk in Spain

Demonstration against amnesty in Spain

The EPP Group is calling on the European Commission to assess whether the terms of the agreement between Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the Catalan separatist party 'Junts' (NA), led by MEP Carles Puigdemont, constitute a clear violation of the rule of law and the principle of the separation of powers.

Ahead of today's plenary debate, the EPP Group's Chairman Manfred Weber MEP warned that "What is happening in Spain is not a party political issue; it is a rule of law issue. When corruption, violence and even terrorism go unpunished, the rule of law is broken. When special parliamentary committees are set up to investigate judges and independent courts, the rule of law is broken. Sánchez has every right to form a government, but not to break the rule of law."

The EPP Group wants to make it clear that the principles of the rule of law are not negotiable in the EU, let alone in order to gain the votes needed to form a government majority. Moreover, the EPP Group considers that some of the points included in the governmental agreement openly violate the rule of law. These include the introduction of the principle of 'lawfare' in all judicial decisions, which opens the door to parliamentary interference in the judiciary. Additionally, the amnesty law overturns a decade of trials and sentences affecting around a thousand people.

“Today, the European Socialists have the opportunity to demonstrate that the defence of European values, such as the rule of law, is above their ideology, their partisan interests and the personal interests of the socialist Pedro Sanchez, president of their political family internationally. We call on all socialists and European leaders, like Chancellor Scholz, to defend the rule of law in Europe. For the EPP Group, defending the rule of law, freedom and equality is paramount, no matter who is in power. The EPP Group has always done this. We demand that socialists do not apply double standards. The big question today is where are the European Socialists defending the rule of law in Spain?" asked Dolors Montserrat MEP, Vice-Chairwoman and Head of the Spanish Delegation of the EPP Group.

Paulo Rangel MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group, stressed that "the Sánchez government's agreement violates the rule of law and attacks the independence of the judiciary. In the European Parliament and throughout Europe, we must support the Spaniards who are fighting for the values of the democratic transition! This is not a partisan battle; it is a battle for universal values. We hope, in particular, that the European Socialists and the Greens will be consistent and apply the same criteria to the case of Spain as they applied to Poland and Hungary."

“A politician who grants impunity to his allies to become Prime Minister himself. This is impunity in exchange for votes. The European institutions, including this Parliament, which is committed to the integrity of the rule of law, must act objectively, and know that what would not be allowed in any other Member State, be it Romania, Hungary, Poland, or Slovakia, cannot be admissible in Spain," reassured Javier Zarzalejos MEP, a member of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.

“It is very sad to see that Prime Minister Sánchez has completely turned his back on the concept of an independent judiciary. Instead of supporting the separation of powers, he is fully supporting the power of separation in Spain,” concluded Jeroen Lenaers MEP, the EPP Group’s spokesperson in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.

All the professional associations of the judiciary, as well as representatives of business and trade unions, have also sounded the alarm about these pacts.

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 178 Members from all EU Member States

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