An authentic lead-weighted lifebuoy. That is all that Spain has found in its judicial fight against the Catalan president who has been in exile since autumn 2017, Carles Puigdemont. The battle of the preliminary questions presented by Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has made it possible for the different EU member states to have an opportunity to give their opinions on the transfer of those sought via the European Arrest Warrants which different countries issue. All this, after arrest warrants presented by the Spanish judiciary against Catalan pro-independence exiles have been turned down numerous times by courts as diverse as those in Belgium, the UK, Italy and Germany, as well as rejections, even refusals to arrest, in countries such as the Netherlands, France and the always-neutral Switzerland.
But, probably unintentionally, Pablo Llarena put his own head into the lion's mouth with the preliminary questions he presented to the ECJ, perhaps assuming that it would be like in Spain, where politics and justice go hand in glove to the extent that it is difficult to know who is acting as what. The result for Spain could not be more bleak: it has only found support in Poland and Romania, while the states that represent the weight of the Union have expressed an overwhelming and resounding silence. A silence that cannot be interpreted as ambiguous but as a dissenting attitude. The ECJ has its own rules and it is known that judicial certainty is what they always tend to favour. To maintain silence is, in this case, the best they can do for Spain.
The fact that it has been that it has been such a voice of the establishment as the Madrid newspaper La Razón that has revealed that only Poland and Romania have aligned themselves with the Spanish state - surely it has run the story thinking more of Sánchez's fragility than to show off the miseries of Spain - clearly demonstrates the international solitude of Spanish justice. Poland is embroiled in a clash with the ECJ for having imposed its national legality over European justice. The ECJ has fined Poland one million euros a day for ignoring the European court's decision to withdraw the controversial disciplinary chamber of the Polish Supreme Court for violating judicial independence.
Romania also challenged the EU courts in questioning the primacy of EU law a few days ago, following in the footsteps of Poland and Hungary. A Spain in black and white confronts all the founding member states of the EU - France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands - and also Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Finland and Sweden, among so many others.
On the 35th anniversary of Spain's accession to the European Community, the realization of a discomfort over European rules is beginning to make itself felt in the capital of the state. Because Spanish justice is on the path to an international ridicule which will have few precedents.