Rather than self-criticism, quite the opposite. The Spanish treasury minister, María Jesús Montero, already announced on Monday what the Spanish government's line would be on this matter, and it has now been confirmed by the government spokesperson. Isabel Rodríguez has celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling on the revised sentences for the convicted Catalan pro-independence leaders and asserted that the pronouncement "gives a response" to one of the wishes of the executive chaired by Pedro Sánchez: "That there be no decriminalization" of the events of October 2017 in Catalonia. Rodríguez made a defence of the de-judicialization of political conflicts, but, at the same time, managed to defend that the state should have "legal instruments" to defend itself.
In other words, despite the fact that the Pedro Sánchez executive negotiated with the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) a reform of the crime of misuse of funds that would lower the penalties when there was no personal enrichment - as was the case with the public spending channelled into the 2017 referendum - now the Spanish government interprets that the Supreme Court has endorsed the views held at the Moncloa government palace. The minister spokesperson also avoided commenting on the Supreme Court's direct slaps in the face for the Spanish government: affirming that the events of October 1st does not fit into the new crime of aggravated public disorder, and also voicing a warning that in the future new pro-independence processes that are not accompanied by "pre-ordained" violence may, under the amended law, go unpunished.
"The important and fundamental thing is that fortunately, and thanks to dialogue, we have managed to bring what was previously a political conflict into the area of social harmony", affirmed Rodríguez to close the issue of the Supreme Court ruling. She reiterated the will of the Spanish government to harmonize the Penal Code with that of other European states as well as the steps taken so far to address the political conflict with Catalonia.
The PSOE's support for the Supreme Court's decision
The assessment of the Spanish government on the issue arrived 24 hours after that of the senior govering party, the PSOE. The deputy general secretary of the Socialists, and treasury minister, María Jesús Montero, thanked the Supreme Court for proving that the opposition PP had "lied" when it said that the misuse of funds reform left unpunished "such serious crimes" as those surrounding the 1st October referendum.
The leader of ERC in Congress, Gabriel Rufián, has already reacted to these statements. Despite having been one of those responsible for negotiating the Penal Code reform, the head of the party in Madrid blamed the Spanish judiciary for wanting to persecute the independence movement; and he downplayed Montero's statements. According to Rufián, it is not surprising that "a high official of the PSOE is not pro-independence". Also, in defence of ERC's negotiation of the reform with the PSOE, Rufián affirmed that the modification of the Penal Code was not done "for this generation, but for future generations". "It is never useless to talk, to sit down and negotiate", claimed the Republican deputy.