Only from a starting point of ineptitude could anyone make the proposal which has been put together by the president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, suggesting that a part of the European Reconstruction Fund created to combat the effects of Covid-19 be dedicated to the aftermath of Storm Filomena. European distrust of Spain for the way it wastes the funds it receives from Brussels, time and time again, is fully confirmed by statements such as Casado's. There is a part of Europe, made up of the central European and Nordic countries, that is clearly reluctant to continue handing over funds to southern countries, such as Spain and Greece, because they consider that time and time again the money is not spent on modernization, but is used for numerous other things. For this reason, with varying intensity, countries such as Austria, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands imposed strict control on more than half - about 70 billion euros - of the amount that Spain will receive in European funds.
Casado demonstrates gross misjudgement on a key issue, which may cause great concern to many foreign ministries who, in the end, can't really fathom how money ends up being spent in the worst way possible. Mixing Covid-19 with the Storm Filomena reinforces this idea and is terribly clumsy. Another radically different question is whether special assistance should be allocated for the storm and here we will see how able the Spanish government will be to offer aid that it does not have, or to claim it from the appropriate area of the European Commission. Although I'm very much afraid that there will not be a great deal of comprehension of how so little preparation was made for a snowstorm that had been announced long in advance, and which did no more than fulfil the weather predictions that the meteorologists had given.
It is natural that the trust shown by European authorities and public starts to fracture when such news is heard. Another example: this Thursday we heard the Spanish justice minister, Juan Carlos Campo, affirming that the government is considering an appeal against the ruling from Belgian justice refusing the extradition of Catalan minister in exile Lluís Puig. Such a statement is, at the very least, surprising, because this ruling became final after the Belgian prosecutors declined to make a last submission to the Brussels Court of Appeal. Campo, a judge since 1989 and a member of the General Council of the Judiciary between 2001 and 2008, has no right to go round confusing people by proposing impossible responses, because the case is simply closed. He can, as he did, express his disagreement with the Belgian judiciary - it is not the most advisable thing for a minister to do, but they still do it - and he can also take the blows when asked his opinion about the court's explicit statement, as one of its reasons for not granting extradition, of its doubts that the presumption of innocence would be respected.
A saddened Campo only managed to answer that the Belgian judiciary does not know the reality of the rule of law in Spain. Indeed, minister, it is the opposite: more and more countries have a clear idea of how Spanish justice behaved with the Catalan independence movement. And it begins to weigh heavily, whatever face he puts upon it.