European Commission to conduct 'careful, independent and objective' analysis of amnesty law 

Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders says that Catalonia "remains an internal affair" during EU debate 

Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders during the debate on the Spain's amnesty law in the European Parliament
Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders during the debate on the Spain's amnesty law in the European Parliament / European Parliament
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona/Strasbourg

November 22, 2023 05:22 PM

November 22, 2023 09:52 PM

The European Commission has said that it will carry out a "careful, independent and objective" analysis of Spain's amnesty bill to determine whether it complies with European regulations, the fundamental values of the European Union, and EU treaties. 

During the debate on the amnesty law at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said that he will follow the situation "very closely" but that the European Commission maintains its opinion on Catalonia, that it "remains an internal matter for Spain, which must be settled according to its constitutional order." 

Reynders explained that he is in contact with the Spanish government, which he said has shown "its availability for dialogue and desire to work with the Commission."


"The Commission, as guardians of the treaties, is currently analyzing the draft and remains in contact with the Spanish authorities," he added.

The amnesty bill was agreed between Catalan pro-independence parties and Spain's Socialists as part of the negotiation to reelect Pedro Sánchez as prime minister of Spain

Parties on the right brought the matter to the European Parliament, with the European People's Party (EPP) one of the main drivers of the debate, titling it: 'Threats to the rule of law as a consequence of the government agreement in Spain.' 


The commissioner said they have received "many complaints from citizens and others" who express "concern" about the amnesty law, and that some MEPs have written parliamentary questions on the subject to the European Commission. 

"I can guarantee that the European Commission will follow this issue very closely," Reynders concluded, adding that the rule of law "unites" all Europeans. 


Spain's Secretary of State for Foreign and Global Affairs, Ángeles Moreno, warned that there were almost no precedents for a debate in the European Parliament on a law not yet approved by a national parliament. 

Moreno pointed out that the amnesty law "will be subject to the control of the Constitutional Court" in Spain. 

The Spanish government representative, speaking as Spain currently holds the Presidency of the Council, warned that holding a debate on a regulation that is an "internal" matter for Spain "does not contribute to improving European democracy." Focusing European debates on national issues "harms" the work of the EU and shows a "worrying trend," she said.

'Amnesty, not anomaly' 

Catalan pro-independence Junts and Esquerra Republicana parties have criticized the People's Party route change towards a more "Trump-style way" and defended that the "amnesty is not an anomaly." 

"Amnesty is not an anomaly. Many EU member states consider it in their constitutions, and in past decades around 50 amnesty laws have been adopted in the EU," Esquerra MEP Diana Riba said.


MEP Jordi Solé told Reynders to be "calm" because the amnesty law "does not violate the Spanish Constitution or the EU". 

"[The amnesty law] tries to repair [...] the repression against a vibrant and democratic movement like the pro-independence movement," he said. 

Solé also warned that the Commission should be more concerned about the fascist and Nazi symbolism displayed in recent weeks during protests in Madrid against the law. 

Junts MEP Toni Comín, who has been living in Belgium since leaving Spain in 2017 after the independence referendum, directed his speech to the EPP's spokesperson Manfred Weber. Comín reminded the German politician that the judges in Schleswig-Holstein rejected extraditing former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont

"Schleswig-Holstein judges trialed these crimes and said it was not rebellion, sedition, or public disorder. They said it was a fundamental rights act," he said.


Meanwhile, the People's Party urged the European Commission to intervene in the congressional procedure of the amnesty law draft, while far-right Vox said it is a "coup d'etat."