We continue with the series of chapters where we will be giving arguments for the debate. In this text, we explain how the CC beheaded the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia.
The sentence of June 28, 2010 of the Constitutional Court, partially considered the appeal of unconstitutionality.
What were the main affections?
The main intentions of the Statute of 2006 were:
- Ensure the integrity of the jurisdiction of Catalonia and also guarantee its implementation, by setting specific fields in each one of the regional competences. That is to say, the Statute details what each competence consists on ensuring that they are not left empty or cannot be developed entirely due to the generic attribution of competences corresponding to the Spain Constitution.
- Articulate new relations with the State, with a strengthened participation between the two, through bilateral participation mechanisms.
- Guarantee better financing, fairer for Catalonia.
- Obtain a national recognition of Catalonia, as well as guaranteeing its essential identity elements, which includes Catalan as its own language and a whole set of language rights.
In summary, among the declarations of unconstitutionality of some articles, and the interpretation forced by the sentence on other articles of the Statute, it can be stated that the Constitutional Court eliminates practically all the provisions that the institutional regulation of Catalan introduced to achieve these goals:
- Regarding competences, it states that a Statute cannot detail the sectors and subsectors in which the attribution of a competence will be. It is worth mentining that, in this sense, that this constitutional doctrine is opposed to what the Constitutional Court declared in relation to the Statute of Autonomy of Valencia (STC 247/2007). That is to say, it considers that the Constitution is the only regulation that can define the competences between the State and the Autonomous Community, without allowing the statutes, which are in the end state rules, to delimitate them.
- Regarding the relations State-Generalitat of Catalonia, the Constitutional Court dismisses any binding value to the provisions of the Statute regarding the participation of the Generalitat, since it considers that it should be reduced to a simple voluntary collaboration between the both administrations. Therefore, it does not allow the statutes to determine non-voluntary cooperation and cooperation regimes, unless expressly recognized by the Constitution. It is worth repeating that the statutes of autonomy are state laws that, besides being approved by the Regional Parliament, they are also approved by the Spanish Parliament ans the Spanish Senate. That is why this suspicion and exaggerated caution when interpreting and accommodating the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia in the so-called Block of Constitutionality.
- Regarding financing, the Constitutional Court excludes organic participation concerning decision-making bodies, and states that it is the State who should or not participate effectively, in each case, with full freedom of participation, its specific scope and the specific way to articulate it.The sentence of the Constitutional Court reiterates its extensive interpretation of state competence over the general treasury and devalues the role of the State – Generalitat Joint Economic and Fiscal Affairs Commission, since it passes over the state framework and multilateral decision. Likewise, it declares unconstitutional and it invalidates the statutory provisions in the sense that the Catalan contributions, in order for other autonomous governments to achieve similar levels of provision of services, are conditioned by the fact that these other governments carry out a similar fiscal effort. Ultimately, the CC confirms the jurisdiction of the State to establish the regional financing system and limits the Statute to foresee some of the channels through which the coordination and cooperation that the Constitution itself establishes should take place between the State and the communities in this area.
- Regarding the recognition of the singular identity of Catalonia, the Court excludes any legal or political meaning. The TC in general strives to fit the national recognition to the cultural field and strives to deny any other consequence of these statements.
Finally, the special seriousnessof this interference from the Constitutional Court to the Statute of Autonomy, which was already highlighted by the report prepared by a Group of experts by motion of the then President of the Generalitat, the Very Honorable Mr. José Montilla i Aguilera, in its conclusions:
The ruling significantly impairs the constitutional function of the Statute of Autonomy and replaces its role in the constitutional block.
The ruling often addresses the Statute of Autonomy as a pure regional law, through which the Autonomous Community of Catalonia intends to impose obligations and mandates over the State, and forgets that it is a state rule as a result of a political pact between the Generalitat and the State.
The sentence does not apply its repeated doctrine on the principle of deference towards the legislator that, in this case, must still be applied more exquisitely because of the constitutional function of the Statute and due to the added legitimacy that derives from the elaboration and approval procedure. Instead, the sentence is coated with an unwarranted prevention concerning the content of the Statute of Autonomy.