The General Court of the European Union (TEU) on Wednesday gave the reason to the European Commission in its refusal to register a citizens’ initiative that asked Brussels to take measures against Spain for alleged violations of the rule of law in relation to the Catalan independence process . Specifically, the Luxembourg court dismisses the appeal filed by the promoters of the initiative – led by the president of the ANC Elisenda Paluzie and defended by the lawyer Gonzalo Boye – because the initiative “did not invite the Commission to present a proposal for an act Union law, as required by the regulation on the citizens’ initiative.
The initiative sought for Brussels to take action against Spain in light of Article 7 of the EU Treaty, which can lead to sanctions such as suspending the country’s voting rights in the Council if a systemic violation of the rule of law is confirmed. Getting to this point is, however, very difficult because unanimity is needed between the Member States.
The petition denounced alleged violations of fundamental rights in Catalonia by the Spanish Government, including the violation of “human dignity, freedom, democracy, equal respect for Human Rights and minorities.” Among the examples presented to support the accusation was the decision of the Central Electoral Board to prevent that neither Carles Puigdemont -as head of the JxCAT list- nor the councilors Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí could attend the elections to the European Parliament on May 26 .
The European Commission, however, rejected the registration of this initiative because it considered that it was “manifestly outside” its scope of competences, a conclusion that the General Court of the EU also shared in its ruling on Wednesday.
The ruling admits that the argument of the Community Executive is “concise” but “that does not imply that the obligation to give reasons is breached” as long as it includes a clear explanation of the reasons that led to the rejection of the registration of the initiative. On the merits of the case, the European judges indicate that the refusal to register the proposal “was motivated by the fact that it did not invite the Commission to present a proposal for a Union legal act, as required by the regulation on the citizen initiative ».
Thus, the European Justice considers that “the Commission was clearly not invited to present a proposal for a legal act”, so that Brussels “rightly considered in its decision that the proposal for a European citizens’ initiative was clearly outside the scope of its powers. ». In particular, the Luxembourg court explains that the legislation obliges the Commission to address proposals for legal acts to the Council and the European Parliament. Therefore, a citizens’ initiative inviting Brussels to adopt “one or more autonomous acts itself would not comply with the requirements laid down” in the rules.