Esquerra submits recommendations on the judicial system, on the war on corruption and on free speech
Esquerra Republicana has submitted a proposal to complete the report on the progress of Rule of Law in Spain that the European Commission draws up every year. In the drafting process, the Commission opens a period for civil society organizations to take part, an opportunity that Esquerra has taken to further its contributions in different fields, such as the functioning of the judicial system, the war on corruption and media pluralism.
Esquerra has highlighted the work done regarding legislation, especially through the recent reform of the Penal Code, in order to bring the Spanish legal system nearer that of European democracies. However, in spite of that, Esquerra also maintains in its contributions to the report that progress is insufficient and that it is necessary to fight the criminalization that social movements still suffer in Spain today.
In this regard, the assessments made by Esquerra Republicana highlight the deficiencies of the Spanish state concerning judicial independence, which result in bias by judges in cases such as that of the leaders of the pro-independence process, and in the case of expired mandates of the General Council of the Judiciary, a situation which was condemned last December by the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO). Esquerra’s contributions also include a reference to the anomaly of the Spanish Tribunal de Cuentas (Court of Auditors) and its structure and functions, which often leads to double jeopardy.
Beyond the deficient and arbitrary functioning of the judicial system, Esquerra points out that the democratic backsliding by the Spanish state is epitomised in other spheres, such as the feeble efforts in the war on corruption. Esquerra has stressed the point, supported by appraisals by Transparency International, that in recent years Spain has made almost no progress in the implementation of the European Whistleblower Directive, a regulation that aims to protect whistleblowers in cases of corruption.
Finally, another point that exacerbates breaches of rights in Spain is the ever weakening safeguard of free speech, which has a negative impact on media pluralism. In this regard, certain measures provided in the Spanish legal framework play a prominent role in censoring journalists and the media. One example is the offences of defamation, disclosure of confidential information and insults to the crown. Esquerra holds that the mere existence of these crimes in a modern democracy is an example of current international backsliding.
In this way, Esquerra Republicana highlights the democratic shortcomings of the Spanish state and hopes that the European Commission will thus complement the report on the Rule of Law 2023.