council of europe

Council of Europe warns Spain over violation of its recommendations on judicial independence

October 10, 2016 02:33 PM | ACN

Spain is failing in transparency and judicial independence. According to the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe (Greco), the Spanish Government has not satisfactorily applied any of the eleven recommendations made by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2013, which aimed at promoting the fight against corruption and guaranteeing judicial independence. In a report published this Monday, Greco states that it is “key” to increase “transparency of communication between the Prosecutor General and the Government”. Moreover, it warns that it is “crucial” that the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) in Spain is “not only free, but also seen to be free from political influence”. The text also stresses that “political authorities should not be involved, at any stage, in the selection process of judicial staff".

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Council of Europe highlights the difficulty of using Catalan in the administration of justice

January 21, 2016 06:44 PM | ACN

The European body expressed its concerns regarding the use of Catalan and the Spanish State’s other “regional languages” in the administration of justice and in the health service. The Council of Europe called on the Spanish State to “modify the legal frame” and “guarantee that an appropriate proportion of the administration of justice’s workers” has a “practical knowledge” of the Catalan language. The European body, composed by 47 European countries, approved this Thursday “six recommendations” to solve “some important problems” and make sure that the Spanish State respects the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.This is the fourth report of this kind, after similar ones were written in 2005, 2008 and 2012. It states that the situation “has improved considerably” in the last four years, especially due to the Autonomous Communities’ efforts.

Council of Europe receives 1.5 million signatures supporting Catalonia’s independence

November 6, 2015 08:58 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The main pro-independences civil associations, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) handed over 1.5 million signatures supporting Catalonia’s independence to the Council of Europe. The signatures were gathered during the non-binding referendum that took place on the 9th of November 2014. The pro-independence civil associations’representatives travelled to Strasbourg to denounce “the lack of democratic will of the Spanish State”and they reported on Catalonia’s situation to a delegation of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. The delivery of these signatures is the first international diplomatic action promoted by the ANC, Òmnium and the AMI. “The Catalan case is present in the European agenda”stated the ANC’s president, Jordi Sànchez, and added that “giving first-hand information from civil society is very important”. 

European Commission: The 27-S elections are “a domestic issue for Spain”

September 28, 2015 02:52 PM | ACN

“The EC does not comment on regional elections” stated EC spokesperson Margaritis Schinas. He added that the EC won’t express “a position” regarding the 27-S results in Catalonia, which it considers “a domestic issue for Spain”.The EC spokesperson confirmed that EC President Jean-Claude Juncker “was informed” of the election results but that he “didn’t have any immediate contact” to evaluate them with the Spanish nor the Catalan governments. “I have nothing else to say” stated Schinas, who denied any consideration of whether the EU should promote dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona. However, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur, stated at a press conference that “the vote of the people of Catalonia must be respected” and added that “there must be dialogue from both sides”.

 

1.4 million Catalans signed international complaint against Rajoy for banning self-determination vote

January 19, 2015 11:50 PM | ACN

The document will be sent to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The Spanish Government “violates the Catalan people’s right to decide its own political future and bans the exercise of democracy through a referendum or an internationally standardised consultation vote”, reads the complaint, signed by 1,386,628 citizens and 3,703 elected representatives such as mayors and MPs. They complain about the “Spanish Government’s anti-democratic attitude”, which ignored an electoral mandate from 2012 to hold a legal and binding self-determination vote in Catalonia, among other facts. The signatures were collected during the symbolic vote on independence held on 9 November by the civil society organisations Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, as well as by the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI). 

Catalan representatives to send a complaint to international organisations against Spanish Government for blocking self-determination

November 5, 2014 09:20 PM | ACN

More than 200 elected members of the European, Spanish and Catalan Parliaments and municipal councils from Catalonia have presented and started to sign on Wednesday an international complaint against the Spanish Government that will be sent to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). They are formally accusing the Spanish Government of "violating the right of the Catalan people to decide on its own political future" and "banning the exercise of democracy ". They list reasons of democratic legitimacy, stress the sustained self-determination demands and highlight the manifold Catalan attempts to negotiate and hold a legal vote. They also emphasise the Spanish Government's total blocking attitude and they announce that Catalan representatives "feel legitimate to launch all the necessary political and legal actions". Finally, they also ask those international organisations to act in order "to guarantee that Catalonia's citizenry can democratically decide on its future".

The European Court of Human Rights temporarily stops the eviction of an apartment block near Girona

October 16, 2013 09:09 PM | ACN

The Court based in Strasbourg has answered the appeal of the lawyer representing the Mortgage Platform (PAH), which had occupied an entire apartment block in Salt, near the Catalan city of Girona. 16 families occupied the block in order to get a house, but 3 left fearing eviction. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has temporarily delayed the eviction of the entire apartment block as a precautionary measure until it has fully studied the case, arguing that evicting the families would go against international law on housing rights. The ECHR has given the Spanish Government 8 days to prove it has adopted the measures to guarantee such rights. The decision comes the day the eviction was planned. Families and a thousand supporters received the news crying of joy and shouting the PAH’s motto: “Yes, it can be done; yes, it can be done”.

The ‘Ombudsman’ has “less influence” and is under “threat of disappearance”

November 21, 2011 09:22 PM | CNA / Esther Romagosa

In an international conference taking place in Barcelona of Ombudsmen from Europe, America and Africa, the Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, has warned that the institution has “less influence”. Furthermore, in some areas of Europe there is a threat that they will “disappear”. The Ombudsmen have been discussing their role in the face of the privatisation of basic services. The conference has been organised with the ‘Cercle d’Economia’, which is mainly an economic forum, open to businesspeople, academics and economic professionals.