When the Spanish State signed the European free movement pact, the Schengen agreement that allows transit through 26 countries, it did so with a resounding absence for the Basque Government. In the security section, I only cited the Civil Guard and the Spanish Police at the time of enabling them to cross the border in the heat of a persecution, or to continue to monitor a suspect in the framework of a judicial investigation, even if they cross geographical limits.
He did not mention the Ertzaintza, even if it is considered an integral Police. Almost with the plunger and forced marches, the Basque Government has had to start tearing out spaces for the recognition of the Basque Police, first of all to empower the Ertzaintza to carry out hot chases across the muga and that you do not have to turn around (it was agreed in 2017 with the Spanish Government of Rajoy) and, finally, tomorrow it is expected to sign the second fundamental leg of the Schengen area, the possibility of carry out cross-border surveillance of a suspect even if he crosses state boundaries.
The agreement will be signed tomorrow by the Vice-Lehendakari and Security Councilor, Josu Erkoreka, and the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, on the security meeting between the two governments in Madrid, the bilateral body that had not met since 2017. It will mean recognizing the Ertzaintza the same functions that the Civil Guard and the Spanish Police already have in this field. It will assume that they act on the same level.
Specifically, Erkoreka has assured at the gates of the Basque Parliament that, although it is not closed, it hopes to settle a complementary commitment to the one agreed in 2017. At that time, the hot pursuits were agreed, included in article 41 of the Schengen agreement, In other words, the Ertzaintza was allowed to cross the muga in a case of flagrante delicto, with the offender caught red-handed. Now it is expected to sign what refers to the Article 40, cross-border surveillance in the framework of a judicial investigation longer, an issue that has been under negotiation since the meeting between Erkoreka and Marlaska in February, as DEIA reported.
Article 40 empowers the police officers of “the contracting parties” to, when “in the framework of a judicial investigation, they are monitoring a person who allegedly has participated in a criminal act that may give rise to extradition,” shall be authorized to continue such surveillance in the territory of another contracting party when it has authorized cross-border surveillance following a previously submitted request for legal assistance; conditions may be imposed in the authorization. “That same article adds that, in the event that, For urgent reasons, it is not possible to request authorization, it would be enough to communicate immediately to the country in question that such surveillance is to be carried out.
This agreement has practical and daily consequences for security, because it was not very operational and not very productive for the judicial investigation to have these restrictions. But it also has a political value for the Basque Government: it places the Ertzaintza in a position of equality with the Civil Guard and the Spanish Police. The two agreements on Schengen, both with Minister Zoido (PP) and Marlaska (PSOE), have been signed with minority Spanish governments, in need of the support of the PNV.
This agreement, on the other hand, arrives thirty years after the Spanish state signed the agreement, and it also arrives years late compared to other models like the German, who did empower the police of the countries to carry out cross-border operations. In the Belgian case, the reality of the municipal police was collected.
The Schengen area does not coincide to the millimeter with the European Union and, for example, countries that are not part of the community club are part of it. Among the most prominent signatories are the Spanish and French states, Portugal, Germany and Hungary. The agreement that will be signed tomorrow puts an end to a historical grievance and also to the partial or biased incorporation of the Ertzaintza into Schengen.
It is very likely that this agreement will be joined, as reported by this newspaper, a regulation that enables the Ertzaintza to authorize the drone flights. The counselor explained that he is going to “expressly incorporate a provision” so that the autonomous police are entrusted with administrative control in the case of civilian drones, as well as prior communication of the flight. In the State, outside the airport precincts, it is a function entrusted to the Civil Guard. Erkoreka could read so far, although they are not the only agreements that are expected.
The Vice-Lehendakari trusts that the Security Board will conclude “with positive news”. Although “nothing is definitely closed, the talks have advanced a lot in recent months” and “very important approaches have been reached on the vast majority of issues.”
He argues that some issues of 2017 needed “precision”, and others required “to guarantee their effective compliance in some specific case.” “A complementary commitment to the adopted in 2017 in relation to article 40 of the Schengen Convention. The commitments of Article 41 in relation to hot pursuits were already signed in 2017 and the provisions of Article 40, the vigilance in the judicial investigation, were pending, “he said.
The vice-lehendakari recalled that, when the Spanish State signed the Schengen agreement, when picking up the police forces subject to the agreement, He only mentioned “expressly” the Civil Guard and the Spanish Police. “Therefore, it has had to be worked on in all areas in which it is necessary to incorporate the Ertzaintza into the list of authorized police forces, “he explained. In Onda Cero, he has predicted” great agreements “after a” fluid “relationship.