The Group of States against Corruption (Greco) of the Council of Europe regrets the lack of progress made by Spain on its recommendation to separate the election of senior judicial posts from political power and shows “serious concern” about the blockade in the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ).
This message is reflected in an addendum to his second report published this Monday on Spain’s compliance with the recommendations established by El Greco in his fourth round of evaluation, which studied in 2013 how Member States prevent corruption of parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors.
Although the institution has been acknowledging Spain’s progress in these matters, especially since 2019 (before it had barely detected improvements compared to its initial “globally unsatisfactory” evaluation), now regrets again the lack of progress in Spain, especially in the judicial section.
“The four years of deadlock in the appointment of the CGPJ is a matter of serious concern that must be addressed as a matter of priority,” he points out. “It is a highly unsatisfactory situation“, insists the body of the Council of Europe, which “urges the authorities to take decisive action.”
Specifically, the Greek relates this problem to the repeated Spanish failure to comply with its recommendation number five out of a total of 11 points of work that had emerged from their 2013 analysis. There, it is requested to evaluate the rules that govern the CGPJ and their “effects on the real and perceived independence” of the governing body of judges.
For El Greco, it is necessary that Spain implement a peer-based election systeminstead of leaving this power in the hands of the political powers.
The current blockade of the renewal of the CGPJ also has negative repercussions on other pending Greco recommendations, such as the improvement of the criteria for nominating high judicial positions (in those of provincial, national and Supreme Courts), which guarantee the ” impartiality, independence and transparency”.
For El Greco, the acting CGPJ “cannot make appointments to high judicial posts. This is a very worrying situation”. In his evaluation, he does recognize progress or partial progress in the other two areas studied: the independence of parliamentarians and prosecutors.
As for legislators, El Greco calls for expanding the regulations that regulate contacts with pressure groups and other actors likely to influence the laws. He points out, for example, that transparency mechanisms have been introduced that are not followed in practice.
Regarding the prosecutors, the report welcomes improvements such as the adoption of a new Regulation of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (May 2022), but calls for, among other things, broader reforms of the statute of the Attorney General, to give him greater autonomy and independence.
To prepare this report, El Greco had appointed as rapporteurs the legal adviser Ásthildur Valtýsdóttir, from the Icelandic delegation to the organization, and judge Emma Rizzato, from the Italian team.