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Once again, no agreement. Félix Bolaños, of the governing Spanish Socialists (PSOE), and Esteban González Pons, of the opposition People's Party (PP), left the European Commission this Monday without an agreement. Thus, Spain's highest organ of judicial governance, the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), will continue in the state it has been for over five years - with judges' mandates unconstitutionally expired - for at least another few weeks, because the two parties have agreed to meet again in Brussels to discuss the matter in the first half of March. The PP stands firm in its demand: that the renewal of the members of this body must take place at the same time as the reform of the law that changes the method for electing members of the governance body. "We cannot consent to a CGPJ in which the judges do not choose the judges", declared the conservative party's representative, MEP Esteban González Pons, as he left the meeting.  

For his part, Félix Bolaños insisted that, first, it is necessary to renew the members of the governance body and, at that point, "initiate talks to improve the model as much as possible". "[The renewal] must be done immediately," he said. He was more forceful this time than a month ago, when he left the first meeting asserting that it was "the last chance" the PP and PSOE had to agree, while also showing more optimism than this Monday. "The institutional situation is very delicate, not only because of the public service of justice, but because the Council must be renewed for its normal operation", he added. Thus, he thanked the EU justice commissioner, Didier Reynders, for his role as mediator, for his "effort so that we understand each other".  

Esteban González Pons, at the same time, regretted that the two parties are "moving forward", but "too slowly". Neither of the parties wanted to explain the nature of the progress that was being made. In addition, the European Commission makes it clear that these contacts are focused solely on solving the problem of the CGPJ, and in no case to make any pronouncement on an amnesty law that is still being developed, currently in Congress's justice committee.


VIDEO: The European referee, aka commissioner Didier Reynders, mediating between the PSOE's Bolaños and the PP's González Pons this Monday.

The only point on which the PP and the European Commission agree is on having to reform the method of electing members of the CGPJ. But the PP is not in accordance with the European criterion: Brussels asserts that it is simple, fast and urgent to renew the CGPJ members; and then, necessarily, address the reform of the system. In January, after the first meeting, European commissioner Didier Reynders, mediator in these negotiations, gave his point of view.

In a letter, he reminded the PP and the PSOE of "the importance of establishing a constructive dialogue" and the need to "proceed with the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary as a priority and to start, immediately after the renewal, a process with a view to adapting the appointment of its judge-members, taking into account the European standards relating to Councils of Judicial Power".