“I have to tell you that most of the time of my meeting with Vice President Vera Jourova and Commissioner Didier Reynders has been to talk about the renewal of the CGPJ. The concern about the lack of renewal as a consequence of the PP blockade is maximum, because It is affecting not only the institutional normality in the governing body of the judges, but also the citizens’ right to judicial protection in a reasonable time (…) We have also talked about the proposed amnesty law that is being going through Congress. And I can say that there is zero concern in the Commission about the health and strength of the rule of law and the separation of powers. Zero. None.”

This is the message that the Minister of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Justice, Félix Bolaños, wanted to convey this Thursday after his trip to Brussels.

On the official, public agenda, only three appointments: a meeting with his predecessor Juan Fernando López Aguilar, president of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament; a meeting with Vice President Jourova; and another – four hours later – with Didier Reynders, with whom he has been having friction for several years.

The minister and Pedro Sánchez’s trusted man on this issue assures that the Commission’s obsession is the renewal of the CGPJ and that they have dedicated the bulk of the conversations to that, especially with the Belgian, who has raised the issue for three years as the most delicate and worrying point in the reports on the rule of law. And that he has resolved the commissioners’ doubts about the Amnesty Law, although he did not want to go into details. Neither about the substance, nor about possible fears regarding the processing and inclusion of amendments.

“They know perfectly well the bill that was presented, which is in accordance with the Constitution, with the Spanish legal system, with EU law, with the values ​​of Europe, with that value of dialogue: understanding each other, building from a conflict to generate coexistence. Zero concern about the health and strength of the Rule of Law,” Bolaños insisted.

The head of Justice has removed the irony from what he has called “noise”, the complaints from citizens, magistrates, lawyers and political parties. And the commissioners have opted this Thursday for a more than discreet profile. “A pleasure to meet Minister Bolaños. We have discussed the Amnesty Law, the National Council of the Judiciary and broader aspects of democracy and the rule of law,” Jourova commented on her X social network account. “Very good meeting with the new Minister of Justice Bolaños. We took stock of the situation of the Judiciary Council and the latest developments regarding the Amnesty Law. The dialogue will continue with the Spanish authorities,” agreed the Belgian commissioner.

“I have seen this first-hand. I would appreciate the first opposition party not to try to damage the reputation of our country for political objectives that fail. The debate in the European Parliament the other day or that of the Committee of the Regions shows that there is no no concern. It is legitimate to oppose the law from politics, but do not play with the good name of Spain. This is where you prove to be a patriot, by defending and speaking well of Spain, not generating noise, doubts, where there is none. “added the head of Justice and Presidency of the Government of Spain.

It has not been a peaceful day nor the best time to maintain in the community capital that there are no worries, that there are no problems, that everything is working well, thanks in part to the fact that “Spain is a deeply European country, which believes in the European project and collaborates loyally with all the institutions, and even more so at this time when we hold the presidency of the European Council (sic).” While Bolaños was in meetings, the Supreme Court annulled a political appointment and the CGPJ criticized another. While the minister stated that private associations should not be allowed to question the Executive’s appointments. If there is no friction between all the powers, at least it seems that way.

In his appearance before the media after the meeting, after insisting that the priority was the renewal of the governing body of the judges, and downplaying the reform of the system of election of members, another demand made by Brussels, just below in As soon as this renewal takes place, ironically Bolaños has harshly criticized the CGPJ for its vote, today, against the suitability of the Attorney General chosen by the Government. “He is outside the law,” Bolaños said of that position of the Council.

“On Tuesday in the Council of Ministers we began the process to appoint the Attorney General. The law establishes that the CGPJ must prepare a report to see if two criteria are met, that the person has recognized prestige and more than 15 years of practice. Both occur. In fact, there was a CGPJ report a year ago that said it was met. There are no other requirements. Therefore, any report that is made establishing a conclusion other than that is outside the law. It is a professional of prestige and has 15 years of experience. He is already a prosecutor, committed, with a magnificent job, a person who respects the law and the right. This report has been surprising because it is contrary to what they said a year ago with arguments that did not suit him. requires the law,” said Bolaños.

Also asked about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the suitability of the person chosen to preside over the Council of State, former Minister Magdalena Valerio, the Minister of Justice said that he “respects but does not share” the conclusions, criticizing that a private organization, such as There is a right to have something to say about an appointment by the Executive.

“Magdalena Valerio is doing a great job as president of the Council of State. She has a very extensive career, both as a career civil servant and in charge of her career as civil servants in management positions, as a counselor and minister, which allows her to have a deep knowledge of administration and law. And it is being demonstrated in its magnificent work and recognized by all the people who have contact with the Council of State. We respect the ruling of the Supreme Court, of course, but we do not share it. You cannot open the door to that a private entity questions decisions that are the responsibility of the Government of Spain. Valerio’s career is one of rigor, knowledge, professionalism, which makes him worthy and he is demonstrating it. From there, we are going to study the sentence, and in the In the coming days we will communicate if actions are taken on it,” he added.

The trip to Brussels comes after several exchanges, formal and informal, ordinary and more tense. On the eve of the agreement signed in Brussels between the PSOE and Junts, Commissioner Reynders sent a letter to Bolaños and the then head of Justice, Pilar Llop, which made the Government very uncomfortable. In it, the Belgian politician starts with a few paragraphs about the paralysis of the renewal of the CGPJ, an absolute priority. But it was just an excuse to get to the topic of interest: the amnesty.

Reynders explained that to the question of the judges’ body “serious concerns are now added in relation to the ongoing debates on the possible approval of an amnesty law. Although at the moment there is no formal proposal, it has become a issue of considerable importance in the public debate and the Commission has received many queries on the matter, including from a large number of citizens,” stated the text, the first official request on the matter. “I would therefore be grateful if you could provide me with more detailed information, in particular on the personal, material and temporal scope of this planned law.”

Although formally it was nothing, neither a reproach nor a criticism of the law itself, the fact that Brussels requested information just when the agreement was about to be signed was interpreted for what it was: political pressure, a warning, a notice. Reynders, from the European liberal family, told Moncloa that they were listening to the complaints, those of people on the street but also of organizations of judges, prosecutors, state lawyers, etc.

Bolaños’ response was immediate, dry. He told him that the Amnesty Law was not the Government’s business, because it was presented by political groups in Parliament and while the executive was still in office. Bolaños knew and knows that the Commission’s interlocutor is the Government, and it is to whom the requests reach. But he marked distances. And shortly afterward he asked, in various forums, that there be no interference in Spanish political debates.

The relationship with Jourova has been much less strained. The vice president has not said anything out loud for many months. She has sought less personal protagonism and has also chosen to ignore, for the moment, the requests for help from her European co-religionists. She was very clear, and tough, when the PSOE and Podemos wanted to change the appointment system for the election of CGPJ members, but since then she has preferred shadow work, unlike the Belgian one, which is much more combative.