Brussels rules out European Arrest Warrant reform suggested by Spain
No need to introduce changes asked for by Spanish government, confirms European justice commissioner
The European Commission has rejected an unofficial request by the Spanish government to reform the procedure for European arrest warrants.
“The Commission does not share the view that improving the system requires a revision of the framework,” said Vera Jourová, the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, at a press conference held in Brussels on Friday.
The Spanish justice minister, Rafael Catalá, was also in Brussels, where he asked for the EU to assess “the list of crimes” set by the commission for automatic extradition, even meeting unofficially with Jourová herself in the margins of the EU Council for the Ministers of Justice.
The European arrest warrant exists to make extradition cases easier between member states. Around thirty crimes are included on the list. If a person is charged with one of these crimes, extradition proceedings can begin immediately, meaning Carles Puigdemont would have already been extradited to Spain had his actions been included in the list.
However, Jourová asserted that “extending the catalogue of crimes will not directly solve the issues,” stating that the commission does not see “any need to change its functioning as far as the list of criminal offences is concerned.” She recalled that a handbook on “how to issue and execute European arrest warrants” had recently been distributed.
Just days after the arrest warrant for Puigdemont was repealed, Catalá, announced that it could be necessary again in the future, asking for Europe to rethink how the current system works. Jourová stated that there are no plans to "to introduce the changes requested by the Spanish government.”
"The whole system is based on trust,” he said. “The recognition that we all have the rule of law, with independent judicial powers, that the rules are respected and what a judge of any EU nationality decides must be applied, recognized, and executed as much as possible by another judge.” Catalá denied that there was any “problem between Spain and Belgium.”