Spain’s PP retaliates, calls for ending free circulation

PP’s Pablo Casado asks PM Pedro Sánchez to suspend Schengen Agreement in Spain

The decision by a German court to extradite Carles Puigdemont to Spain only for misuse of public funds —but not for rebellion— has irked Spain’s Partido Popular so much that it is considering extreme retaliatory measures. Yesterday Pablo Casado —who is hoping to become the PP’s new party leader— asked Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez to suspend the Schengen Agreement in Spain, the treaty that ended internal borders within the EU. Casado warned that “if I become the new party leader, the PP will not put up with this sort of humiliation against the national sovereignty of a country”, thus endorsing the idea that was originally suggested by MEP Esteban González Pons.

The PP calls for suspending the Schengen Area, which effectively means bringing back internal border checks, “until we can ascertain whether a European Arrest Warrant serves any purpose at all”. The Schengen member states may request a temporary reactivation of their borders, but only under exceptional circumstances to do with security at home or public order, provided the measure is “proportionate”. Member states that suspended Schengen in the past did so for reasons to do with terrorism or illegal immigration.

González Pons also stated that EAWs “do not work” and, therefore, Schengen is “a risk” for Spain. “Today it has become apparent that we cannot do away with borders unless we trust one another. We removed our borders because we were persuaded that the others trusted us and if a criminal ever fled [Spain], they would be handed over”, he insisted.

The German ruling has created doubts and contradictions within Spain’s political parties. While González Pons was very vocal against Germany’s decision, the PP’s spokesman in the Catalan parliament, Santi Rodríguez, denied that it “undermines the authority” of Spain’s courts of law. In contrast, the PP’s deputy spokesman in Madrid’s parliament, Carlos Floriano, said that “we do not like the Schleswig-Holstein decision at all” in the PP. In the same vein, Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera stated that the ruling shows that “double standard exist: those who turned themselves in will stand trial for every one of their crimes, but those who fled have been rewarded”.

Other Ciudadanos elected officials in Madrid were also very critical of the ruling. Juan Carlos Girauta, the Ciudadanos spokesman in the Spanish parliament, said that “the harm done by the Schleswig-Holstein judges extends beyond Spain. One day someone will need to find out who is responsible for such wickedness and what their motives were”. However, their spokesman in the Catalan parliament, Carlos Carrizosa, welcomed the extradition news because “Puigdemont will have to come back and be held to account, like all those responsible for the coup they staged against democracy”. Catalonia’s socialists (PSC) did not comment on Puigdemont’s extradition but denied that judge Llarena’s authority has been undermined.

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