Brussels mediation derails negotiations to renew CGPJ

Brussels mediation derails negotiations to renew CGPJ

The “two-month” hour that the European Commission gave itself to mediate in the search for an agreement between them PSOE I s The renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) is already underway. The Commissioner of Justice, Didier Reynders, met yesterday for an hour and a half, at the headquarters of the Executive Authority of the group, with the Minister of the Presidency and Justice, Felix Bolaños, and the Deputy Institutional Secretary of the Popular Party, Esteban. González Ponce, in an unprecedented mediation process that leaves (for now) a decision: there will be a new face-to-face meeting on the 12th of this month.


“I have recalled the Commission's longstanding position on this matter and the importance of engaging in constructive dialogue. All parties have clearly committed to working together to ensure the implementation of the Commission's recommendation. We have agreed to meet again on 12 February to decide on the stock of discussions,” the Commissioner confirmed in a statement distributed by The executive body of the community.

Maintain appreciation

Both Bolaños and González Pons evaluated Reynders' involvement positively and pledged to act cautiously. The minister said, “Our working method will be an old one known as secrecy in the talks. We will announce the agreements when we reach them,” and described the meeting as “friendly and constructive.” “We are threading the needle. This should be the last time to try to agree on the renewal of the CGPJ,” Bolaños stressed, noting that it may be the “last chance” to restore normalcy.

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Although Gonzalez-Ponce's tone was a bit more “pessimistic,” he also acknowledged progress. “He must have been there because there was going to be a new meeting,” he said. He added, “There are sufficient guarantees to hold this conversation for at least another week in a constructive manner,” stressing that although he is “very pessimistic,” he has “faith” in the possibility of reaching a good agreement with Spain. justice. He added, “I will not deny the opportunity for this organized dialogue process that has begun because it meets the expectations that we had.”

Structured dialogue

Bolaños and González Ponce arrived at the appointment, and were called at three in the afternoon, fifteen minutes early, at about the same time. They agreed to the European Commission's security screening, although they did not say hello or speak at the time. Brussels confirmed its participation in the mediation, through an “organized dialogue” chaired by the Belgian liberal, about a week ago.

“The European Commission is ready to play its role and ensure compliance with EU law. Its work will build on the recommendations made in its Rule of Law reports for 2022 and 2023,” they announced in a joint statement. In other words, to proceed with the renewal of the CGPJ as a priority and begin, immediately after the renewal, the process of reforming the appointment of judges, taking into account European standards relating to these judicial bodies.


The problem is that the starting point of socialists and populists is not the same. For the Paris Conference, which came close to reaching an agreement on two occasions and backed down on both occasions (the last time in 2022), the two processes, renewal and reform, must take place in parallel. For the socialists, the first, urgent and immediate matter is to talk about renewal and they only agreed once to amend the electoral system, because it is a process that, according to their understanding, would take more time to agree on. Which, according to Reynders' statement, remains the appropriate thing to do. “Start renewing as a priority” and “start right after” the appointment adjustment process.

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Under the current system, the CGPJ consists of the President of the Supreme Court and 20 members: 12 judges or judges and 8 eminent lawyers or jurists of recognized standing with more than 15 years of professional practice who are selected by Parliament. That is, by party politicians, through a qualified majority of three-fifths. The European Commission supports, in line with European standards, that half of the members be elected by the judges themselves.

“I am satisfied because it will be wide-ranging and intense talks with an ambitious goal,” González Ponce summed up. According to the popular leader, the dialogue that opened on Monday in Brussels will be “expansive” and if it is resolved positively, “more matters will be reached in addition to renewing the council.” Also fix? “Many things were discussed, and as much as I want to ensure a good end to the talks, I will try not to be rash,” the popular leader said. “We talked about different issues,” Bolaños added.

Effect of pardon

Could the amnesty law be an obstacle? A representative of the Sánchez government said: “There is no obstacle to complying with the law, renewing the Council, and reaching an agreement. All that is required is that the parties have the will to reach an agreement.” “We are stuck in a context where the amnesty law is supposed to delegitimize the judiciary by the government. Does this affect? ​​Yes, this affects the conversations that we will have. We are pessimistic but also ambitious. The framework is broad (…and) we will enter in a constructive way,” Confirmed by Gonzalez Ponce.

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