european council

Extending Spain’s deficit time frame is illegal, according to European Council lawyers

June 4, 2016 01:55 PM | ACN

A year’s extension for Spain on its allotted time to meet the public deficit target has been deemed illegal by the lawyers at the European Council. This ruling comes after current Spanish President Mariano Rajoy sent a letter asking for an extension to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. A legal report to the Council was commissioned by the presidency of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin), after Germany’s complaints of having saved Mariano Rajoy from a sanction during the Spanish electoral campaign. However, the Ministers of Economy and Finance of the EU will not be able to approve this extra year until the European Commission decides whether or not it is punishable by a fine of up to 2 billion euros due to breach of the public deficit target. Despite the ruling, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría has stated that there is “no doubt” that no fine will be issued for missing the deficit in 2015.

European Council commits "to respect" Member State decisions on their "territorial integrity"

December 16, 2014 10:38 PM | ACN

The Spanish Government has welcomed a European Council decision which emphasises that "territorial integrity" is "an essential function" of each Member State. Furthermore, the EU institution will "respect" the "national identities of Member States inherent in their fundamental political and constitutional structures, inclusive of regional and local self-government". Such statements are included within a more general declaration about respecting the rule of law within the European Union, issued after recent events in Hungary. However, the Spanish Government managed to include such references to the document, in the middle of the debate about Catalonia's potential independence from Spain and its continuity within the EU. EU Treaties would have to be reformed to include Catalonia, but they would also have to be reformed in order to kick it out of the EU, since there are no specific provisions on this case.

Rajoy considers self-determination vote "absurd" and rejects discussing it with the Catalan President

July 17, 2014 05:41 PM | ACN

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated on Wednesday that he "will not join absurd debates" and will not "participate in the game" to negotiate Catalonia's self-determination vote since "the referendum is illegal and will not take place". Ironically, Rajoy accepted the request of the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, to meet, but he has specifically rejected to talk about the purpose of the interview: the self-determination vote. In addition, the Spanish PM has downplayed the agreement backed by a two-third majority of the Catalan Parliament, which was answering a mandate resulting from the 2012 Catalan elections. On the same day the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, rejected "reinventing Spain" to better fit Catalans and therefore ruled out a deep Constitutional Reform. In addition, he also rejected setting up a new fiscal scheme for Catalonia, similar to the one that the Basque Country already has.

The Spanish Government “will not allow” and “will not negotiate” on Catalonia’s self-determination vote

December 12, 2013 10:08 PM | ACN

“I want to tell you with all clarity that this consultation will not take place”, emphasised the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. “It goes radically against the Constitution and the law” and “it frontally clashes against the indissoluble unity of Spain”, he insisted. The “unity of Spain and the sovereignty belonging to the Spanish people as a whole are not debatable and are out of any negotiation”, he added. Therefore, the Spanish Government, run by People’s Party (PP), completely rejects authorising a self-determination vote in Catalonia, whose exact question and date had been agreed on this Thursday amongst a majority of Catalan parties. The parties had decided to hold the vote on November 9, 2014 in order for the Spanish institutions to have time to negotiate the procedures. Meanwhile, the main civil society organisations pushing for Catalonia’s independence announced they were accepting the question.

Javier Solana is "surprised" about Cyprus' tax on individual bank deposits

March 18, 2013 10:58 PM | CNA

The former leader of the European Union diplomacy and now an International Relations professor at the Barcelona-based ESADE business school, Javier Solana, stated that it is “difficult” to believe that such a measure could be implemented in Spain or Italy. Solana, who chairs the EsadeGeo Centre for Global Economy and Geopolitics, highlighted the fact that “it is an unprecedented decision to make all depositors pay” such a tax. According to Solana, this could create “insecurity” and it is “an unfair decision for honest money savers”, despite the measure targeting those who have manipulated Cyprus’ financial system.

A Westminster report states that an independent Scotland would be EU Member State from first day

October 31, 2012 08:53 PM | CNA

The report, published by the British Parliament, has been drafted by a senior expert on the enlargement of the European Union, Honorary Director-General of the European Commission and Senior Adviser at the European Policy Centre. The arguments in the document also apply to the Catalan case. The text states that “for practical and political reasons [Scottish people] could not be asked to leave the EU and apply for readmission” since “having been members of the EU for 40 years, [they] have acquired rights as European citizens”. The analysis concludes that “negotiations on the terms of membership would take place in the period between the referendum and the planned date of independence” and that “the EU would adopt a simplified procedure for the negotiations”.

Catalan Euro MPs ask the EU to intervene if there is “a clear risk” of a military threat against Catalonia

October 23, 2012 01:17 AM | CNA

They say that European legislation foresees the cancellation of the voting rights of an EU Member State if there is “a clear risk of serious […] and persistent breach” of the common values. The four MEPs denounce “the military threats” and “the tone used by the People’s Party and the Spanish Government”. They have sent a formal letter to the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding. They ask the EU to be vigilant and “to evaluate the real risks of a potential military intervention” by Spanish forces against Catalonia. If such a risk existed, the EU should suspend Spain’s voting rights in the European Council.

The Spanish Government sets new deficit targets without agreement from neither the EU nor the Autonomous Communities

March 2, 2012 10:38 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Government considers the Spanish Government to be “disloyal” for unilaterally setting the new deficit objectives and for not allowing the same degree of flexibility to the autonomous communities, who manage all basic services. The Autonomies’ new deficit target has been set at 1.5% while that of the Spanish Government is set at 4%. Mariano Rajoy has announced that Spain will have a total public deficit of 5.8% of its GDP, and not the 4.4% previously agreed with the rest of the European Union Member States. Rajoy has argued that, with a recession coming, the situation has changed and the stability pact foresees changing the targets.