European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders has written to Spain’s acting government expressing “serious concerns” over a potential new amnesty law for Catalan separatists.
“Serious concerns are now being voiced” about “ongoing discussions on the possible adoption of an amnesty law”, says Reynders in an October 8 letter to Felix Bolaños, Spain’s Minister for the Presidency.
The European Commission remains committed to “monitoring and upholding” EU values “in all Member States”, warns Reynders.
The Commission “has been contacted on the matter” by a “large number of citizens”, he adds.
While acknowledging there was not a formal proposal yet, “this has become a matter of considerable importance in the public debate”, Reynders says.
He also asks for “more detailed information” about the possible amnesty law’s scope.
Bolaños replied to the letter within twelve hours.
The amnesty law is a matter “that must be resolved in Parliament”, says Bolaños.
In the event an amnesty law is proposed, “we will provide you with all the details of this law, as well as the position of our government”, he promises.
The Justice Commissioner’s letter is Europe’s clearest demonstration yet of concern about Spain’s ongoing government formation negotiations.
In September, a Commission spokesman avoided delving too deeply into the amnesty issue.
An amnesty law is an “internal matter” for Spain that has to be “addressed within the constitutional order”, the spokesman said then.
Later, Reynders said Brussels would be “following this closely.”
The opposition party Vox is claiming the Commissioner’s letter as a victory.
The conservative party has lobbied in Brussels against Sánchez’s proposed amnesty for Catalan separatists.
In late October, they wrote to the 705 MEPs stating legal arguments against a potential amnesty law. Vox distributed a 34-page report by its think tank, Fundación Disenso.
Members of the centre-right Partido Popular are also celebrating Reynders’ intervention.
From October 5 to 8, several thousand protesters gathered around the headquarters of Sánchez’s Socialist Party to protest against the amnesty law.
Earlier this week, the General Council of the Judiciary of Spain, which governs Spain’s judiciary, released a strongly worded statement against the amnesty law.
An amnesty law pardoning convicted Catalan separatists would “abolish the Rule of Law” in Spain, said the 20-member body.