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A pincer action by Basque and Catalan parties: Together for Catalonia (Junts) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) have both expressed their opposition to the decree law 6/2023 that the Spanish government approved and published in the official gazette just before Christmas. The spokesperson for Puigdemont's party in Congress, Míriam Nogueras, complained in a post on X that the PSOE (Spanish Socialists) and left-wing Sumar had approved a decree that "put at risk" the application of the Catalan amnesty law. Despite the fact that the legislative changes included in the December 20th decree were mostly aimed at modifying justice procedures in civil cases, the Socialists also incorporated an article which states that, if the amnesty law is elevated to European justice, the Spanish Supreme Court can suspend its application. For this reason, Junts has already announced that it will vote against this decree.

A royal decree that is already in the spotlight

Nogueras also stated on December 27th that, apart from putting at risk the application of the amnesty for those prosecuted over independence process offences, the royal decree did not respect the competences of the Catalan government and defined it as a "fruit salad" royal decree. And the Basque Nationalists complained about the same thing this Tuesday. The institutional head of the party, Koldo Mediavilla, has asked Pedro Sánchez not to try to pass "omnibus measures" through the lower house. That is to say, the Spanish government should avoid trying to slip many legislative changes through Congress in a single decree law.

As the PNV puts it, the fact that the decree requires many decisions with respect to the same legal proposal could complicate the support of all the parties that supported Sánchez's investiture. He said this in an interview with radio station Onda Vasca, where he set out the problems that the PSOE is having to validate this decree law in Congress after its rejection by Junts, along with some problems that Podemos is putting on the table. "They have to sharpen their capacity for negotiation and dialogue and try to simplify the procedures and the measures that are presented", stated Mediavilla.

For this reason, he stressed that it is "extremely complicated", almost "like squaring the circle". "Because one measure may please one party and another may not. In this regard, we must step very carefully and be realistic in the approaches that are made. Otherwise, we know what is on the right and the far right", indicated the Basque politician, who, in line with the Junts stand, warned that they will defend the interests of Euskadi, the Basque homeland, in Madrid.

Bolaños rejects the controversy

With the announcements from Junts and the PNV, the Spanish presidency and justice minister, Félix Bolaños, tried to shut down any idea that decree law 6/2023 could put the amnesty "at risk". According to the minister, this provision on preliminary questions is already included in the statute of the European Court of Justice and is part of "the recommendations that the Court of Justice makes to all jurisdictional bodies", and he argued that this modification was "a commitment made by Spain to the European Commission so that the 10 billion euros" of the post-Covid recovery plan, an amount long ago committed, can be distributed. "All the issues are exactly the same as before the royal decree law came into force", concluded Bolaños, affirming that it is a misunderstanding.