The Reform of the Territorial Model


Navacerrada (Madrid), 06.07.12.- The last day of the course on Constitutional Policy of the 2012 FAES Campus has begun with a conference on the reform of the territorial model by the Professor of Administrative Law, Tomás Ramón Fernández. The MP for Madrid and chairman of the Committee in Tax and Public Administrations of the Spanish Congress, Gabriel Elorriaga, introduced the conference.

Tomás Ramón Fernández:

“It is essential that the reform of the territorial model is done as thoroughly as possible and, therefore, it logically has to be a reform of the Constitution, of the whole of its eighth title, which today lacks much directive content. The autonomic model has gotten out of hand and, with it, the international credit granted by our exemplary Transition has vanished”.

“The basic aim of the reform is establishing a territorial model that is clear and with well-defined profiles, which could continue being the autonomic model, though duly corrected, as the number of autonomous communities would have to be reduced, excessive as their number is, because there’s no sense in having some units with such a reduced population”.

“The autonomic model was built in shoves, hastily and pell-mell, without any careful consideration. The same happened with the transferring of capacities, all in a tumble, without stopping to think on consequences”.

“The reform must also set the bases of the new local regime: there’s no sense in keeping four or even five administrations, the same as it’s not sensible to keep 8 000 municipalities, out of which a thousand at most are feasible”.

“The allocation of capacities should be left to the Constitution, it shouldn’t be taken care of by the autonomies’ Charters or left to pivot around an only list. Therefore instrumental regulations are needed to allocate capacities, as the Constitutional Court is not an oracle capable of extracting out of the blue the regulations that the 1978 constituents did not establish”.

“This constitutional reform should set the foundations of the State’s Treasury and the autonomies’ treasuries, as we have already seen that leaving it to an organic law only leads to financial disaster. This law, in the last administration, finally ended giving to autonomous communities what we didn’t have just to keep them happy ".

“More important than all Spaniards paying the same regardless of where they live, is that autonomic politicians face their citizens to ask them to pay more if they want to receive more. One of the most unpleasant things is that the State has kept the most unrewarding part, what takes away, and autonomous communities with what gives. That perception is harmful and we must put an end to it”.

“The current crisis has one virtue; it has made us face the crisis of the territorial model, a consideration that we would otherwise not have made”.

“The current model is a bloated web, unsustainable in financial terms and which hasn’t improved at all the effectiveness of the previous reviled centralism, but has instead made the situation worse because it is in a constant struggle with the central State. Third-generation maximalist charters, demanded by no one, have helped aggravate the problem”.

“The problems arising from the indecisiveness of the Constitution’s eighth title have only aggravated more since then, and they have made the constitutional structure dysfunctional and ungovernable. In truth, more than a proper State in itself, what we have today is 17 overlapping mini-states”.

“All this will be useless if we keep an electoral system that tends to give the governing key to nationalist powers. If we begin again, we have to do it differently. Last September’s mini-reform of the Constitution or the budget stability act are not enough”.