Spain: Brussels calls for reform of body that appoints judges

The General Council of the Judiciary in Spain, which decides on the appointment of judges to the country's highest courts, has been blocked and inactive for two years because of a deadlock between the parliamentary parties. An initiative launched by the Sanchez government last October to simplify the appointments procedure failed. Now the EU Commission has intervened, saying that the judges themselves should have some say on who is appointed to the Council.

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El Confidencial (ES) /

EU remains guarantor of democracy

El Confidencial is relieved that Spain's government has withdrawn its plan to fill the new posts in the General Council of the Judiciary by a simple majority vote in parliament:

“The government's retreat, which is a great step forward for democracy and the separation of powers, clearly proves that - despite all the lies, denials and manipulations - there was indeed an attempt to weaken the rule of law, impinge on the freedom of judges and, ultimately, sabotage democracy and the constitutional system of 1978. Europe has once again turned out to be a life saver for Spain. So it's not surprising that our country is one of the member states where the level of support for Europe is at its highest.”

El País (ES) /

Conservatives' arguments are not valid

El País hopes that the conservative opposition will now finally give up its blockade:

“The Commission is demanding that - as in other European countries - some of the chairpersons of the General Council of the Judiciary be elected by the judges themselves. But it also makes it clear that the new appointments must be made before this complicated reform can take place, thus undermining the arguments used by the Spanish right to justify its refusal to fulfil its constitutional duty to renew the judiciary. ... Hopefully the PP leaders will listen and take advantage of the situation - the government's withdrawal and the pressure from Europe - to find a way out of the trench they have dug themselves into.”