REFORM OF SPAIN’S LOCAL AUTHORITIES

The Council of Ministers has now approved the Draft Law on the Streamlining and Sustainability of Local Authorities, that responds to the principle of "One administration, one power", which will result in an estimated saving of more than 8 billion euros between 2013 and 2015. The measure is now expected to be submitted for Parliamentary approval in the next term.

The Minister for the Treasury and Public Administration Services, Cristóbal Montoro, said that the reform of the local authorities, which was first presented on 15 February, "is a pro-municipality reform", that aims to give local councils the role that they deserve but one which "historically they have not been given".

The reform will mean reorganising the institutional structure of the State of the Autonomies. "We are correctly defining what local authorities need to do and clarifying their powers established by the statutes of the autonomous regions and the activities and powers of central government" he said.

The minister explained that the draft law organises the activities of the public sector and streamlines the services offered. In this respect, it defines the activities that the public administration services must carry out without this preventing them from carrying on other activities "provided they are sustainable in budgetary and financial terms".

The minister highlighted the strengthened role of the provincial councils that will be able to coordinate many of the regular services. The local councils will also be under an obligation to publish the cost of each public service and to decide if services should be joint or concentrated under the umbrella of the provincial council in the event that the latter can offer them "under better conditions at an effectively lower cost".

It also incentivises the voluntary merger of municipalities. In this respect, the minister announced that the services of merged municipalities will receive "greater financial support from the State to foster mergers and thus avoid administrative dispersion which is often very costly".

The minister said that the new legislation limits the remuneration of political offices and will bring the salaries of public servants that carry out very similar activities into line. "We are driving this reform to continue making cost savings in the offer of public services to our citizens and with a view to fostering economic activity", he said.

He added that the government is open "to the greatest possible consensus among the political groups" so that the project can get under way with the broadest possible support base.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/40127/

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