On June 23 Carlos Lesmes, President of the Spanish Supreme Court and of the Consejo General del Poder Judicial (CGPJ), gave the opening address at a workshop on the application of EU Law in Spain, organized by IE’s Center for European Studies. The workshop formed part of a program focused on the role of Spanish and EU courts in economic recovery, sponsored by the “Hablamos de Europa” program run by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting, co-directed by Marie-José Garot, Director of the Center for European Studies, and Daniel Sarmiento, Référendaireat the EU Court of Justice, brought together experts on the Spanish legal system, including María Canal Fontcuberta, DG Justice, European Commission; Nuria Díaz Abad, member of Spanish Consejo General del Poder Judicial; Eduardo Menéndez Rexach, President of the Administrative Chamber of the Spanish Audiencia Nacional; Enrique García-Chamón, Coordinating Judge of the EU’s Legal Expert Network of the CGPJ; Miguel Sampol, Spanish Chief State Attorney at the EU Court of Justice; and Rosa Ana Morán, Prosecutor and responsible of the International Cooperation Division.
Over the course of the workshop the EU justice Scoreboard 2014, compiled by the EU Commission, was presented to provide a general vision of judicial policy in the twenty eight EU member States. The report helped analyze reforms in the area of Justice in the context of the European semester. With regard to Spain’s position, the report reveals that it is on a par with the average level of EU member states in terms of the quality, effectiveness and independence of its judicial system.
The experts also focused on the challenges faced by Spanish courts in order to present references for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice in order to enable EU citizens to exercise their rights. Indeed, this procedure enables national courts to question the Court of Justice on the interpretation or validity of European law. Despite noticing a rise in prejudicial references in recent years, with cases such as Google or the Aziz case (abusive clauses in mortgage contracts), some problems still persist. Marie-José Garot underscored the fact that the type of workshop organized by IE’s Center for European Studies and IE Law School served an important role. “They provide a major platform for discussion between judges, magistrates, state attorneys and public prosecutors, meaning the major players involved in the presentation of references for preliminary rulings.”