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4 de juny de 2015

Does Spain fully comply with the EU rule of law standards?

 European Parliament - Brussels - 2 June 2015 

M. Marsal, J. Vallvé, R. Tremosa, I.H. Martí, S. Vidal
Altiero Spinelli Building, room ASP-5E2
Talking to Swedish MEP Bodil Ceballos


Good afternoon. I am Isabel-Helena Martí, the President of Sobirania i Justícia (Sovereignty and Justice), which is responsible for today’s presentation, together with Drets (Rights), an organisation of lawyers, whose President Sergi Blàzquez is also here, sat in the audience.

On behalf of the promoters of the event I would like to thank MEP Ramon Tremosa for his words of welcome and also for his support. Without his help and that of MEPs Josep Maria Terricabras, Francesc Gambús and Ernest Maragall organising this round table in the European Parliament would have been very difficult. We are very grateful to all four of them.

I would also like to thank Amadeu Altafaj, the Permanent Representative of the Catalan Government to the European Union for his presence here today, and also all of you for your kind interest.

“Spain, no rule of law?” is the title we have given to our presentation. You could see the question as rhetorical, or even exaggerated. It could be argued that Spain is a democratic state and a member of the EU, which is why Sobirania i Justícia and Drets can be present here today in the European Parliament. This may be so, but we ask you to consider the quality of the rule of law in Spain and whether it fully complies with EU standards.

The extremely tight political relationship between the executive and judicial powers in Spain is an unfortunate, obvious and persistent fact. Does the lack of real separation between these two spheres guarantee Spanish citizens impartial justice, which is a fundamental and inalienable right in any democracy? Is it acceptable that the president of the Constitutional Court, the highest body of arbitration, is a member of the governing political party? Are citizens rights protected in a state where accusations in the press, which are proven to be false and defamatory, are used as political instruments and systematically go unpunished? Are the unconstrained levels of political corruption the only explanation for the alarming lack of confidence of Spanish citizens in the country institutions? Is it tolerable in a 21st century democracy to prevent members of a national community, as is the case of Catalonia, from expressing their constitutional preferences and, instead, forcing a large segment, possibly a majority, of the population to accept an undesired political status? How come the Spanish judiciary allow to go completely unpunished expressions of hatred based on national and linguistic differences which Catalans suffer? Why is it that, when applying the law, Spain is so permissive with expressions of fascism and nazism, but completely intolerant of the right of expression and political opinion with regard to Catalan sovereignty?

Those are only a handful of questions we have raised. It is for sure we could make many more. But we are here to try to provide answers. I hope that our three speakers will help you understand the key issues relating to the very precarious rule of law in the Spanish State.

First I will call on Joan Vallvé, an engineer, former Minister in the Catalan Government and a member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 2004. He will talk to us about “Democracy and the Catalan political process”.

Now I’ll hand over to judge Santiago Vidal, a magistrate in the Barcelona Provincial Court. His presentation is on “Freedom of expression and opinion in the Spanish State".

Our last speaker is Marc Marsal, a practising lawyer and professor of law at the University of Barcelona. He will address “Spain: catalanophobia and hatred speech”.

We have heard from our three speakers, now we would welcome questions and observations from the audience. We have 30 minutes left. I ask you to be as brief as possible, going directly to the point. I also ask our panellists to be as concise as possible in the replies: "Q&A Session" by Janet-Frances Graham.

So now, unfortunately, our time is up. It just remains for me to thank you all on behalf of Sobirania i Justícia and Drets. I hope that we will meet again soon.


TV3, Canal 324 - 3/06/2015
Catalunya Ràdio, Catalunya vespre, (minute 22) - 2/06/2015
ARA - 2/06/2015
El Punt Avui - 2/06/2015
Vilaweb - 2/06/2015
Nació Digital - 2/06/2015
La Mañana - 2/06/2015
El Singular - 29/05/2015



El debat sobre la creació d'un Estat independent - The debate on building an independent State

El debat sobre la creació d'un Estat independent - The debate on building an independent State
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