Council of Ministers

Government approves exhumation of remains of Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Friday 24 August 2018

The Royal Decree-Law approved on Friday amends two specific aspects of the Historical Memory Act 2007 in order to allow the exhumation to go ahead and transfer the mortal remains of the dictator Francisco Franco, which have been located in the Valley of the Fallen, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid), since 1975.

Accordingly, the government will be able to meet "the commitments in the provisions of this law, the constant indications of the United Nations to the Spanish State and the most recent decision by the Lower House of Parliament, of May 2017, with no dissenting parliamentary group", stressed the Vice-President of the Government and Minister for the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Equality, Carmen Calvo.

Carmen Calvo declared that the fact that the dictator continues to have a "State tomb" in a location where victims from both sides of the Spanish Civil War are buried "wholly violates the ban on the glorification of the Franco regime and of the very figure of Franco", and is incompatible with a mature and consolidated democracy. "There is not a single democracy on the international stage that we would consider a peer nation that has maintained a situation such as this" for more than 40 years, she added.

The government, asserted the Vice-President of the Government, will not waste "a single moment" in complying with the mandate from the Lower House and with the report that the experts issued following the work undertaken by the Lower House, according to which "the quickest and most preferable action to undertake to the benefit of peace, harmony and the dignity of the victims" was to exhume the remains of Franco. "Spanish democracy must not waste a moment more in ordering our memory", said Carmen Calvo, who underlined the importance of younger generations being familiar with "the difficult and tragic circumstances of the history of Spain, to ensure that this "never happens again".

Guarantees and respect for the victims

The Minister for the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Equality explained that the Royal Decree-Law will come into force on the day after its publication in the Official State Gazette, and that the Council of Ministers will approve an agreement to initiate the procedure contained in the text.

The exhumation, she remarked, will be performed with all due legal guarantees, and the family of the dictator will have a period of 15 days to notify the future destination of the mortal remains; in the event that the family makes no proposal, the government will decide "which dignified and respectful location" to transfer the remains to.

Carmen Calvo pointed out that the procedure may be completed before the end of 2018. Thenceforth, she stated, the Valley of the Fallen will comply with the first function contained in the Historical Memory Act: respect for the victims and peace in that location.

The Royal Decree-Law will be submitted to the Lower House of Parliament for its debate and a vote will be cast within the period of 30 days. The Vice-President of the Government pointed out that the government wishes, upon its ratification, that it follows its passage through Parliament in order to listen to the other parliamentary groups and open up "a space for reflection" on how to improve the Historical Memory Act.

Carmen Calvo specified that the government has the legal instruments, within the framework of the agreements with the Holy See, to proceed to the exhumation of the remains of the dictator.

Commitment to equality

Among the agreements adopted by the Council of Ministers, the Minister for the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Equality highlighted another one "due to its significance for the commitments to equality between men and women - the very backbone of this government": the appointment of representatives of Spain in eight embassies, four of whom are women.

The new ambassadors will specifically head up the diplomatic representation of our country in Cape Verde, Nicaragua, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Other Council of Ministers agreements

  • Distribution of funds to combat child poverty among the regional governments.
  • Development of the basic organic structure of the Ministry of Justice, which will include the promotion of human rights among its powers.
  • More than 36 million euros allocated to the renovation of the track on a stretch of the Iberian gauge line from Ciudad Real to Badajoz.

Current affairs

The Vice-President of the Government began her speech at the press briefing following the Council of Ministers by confirming the latest case of gender-based violence, which occurred in Barcelona, thus raising the number of women murdered to 951 since these statistics have been recorded. Carmen Calvo conveyed her condolences to the family of the victims and called for the unity of all institutions, public representatives and society against a "tragedy of this nature that leads to so much insecurity" to women and children.

In response to questions from the press, the Minister for the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Equality explained that the government's response to "migratory pressure" is the common European and humanitarian policy, which caters for respect for human rights, border security and the protection of the State law enforcement agencies.

On this point, she differentiated, on the one hand, between humanitarian actions to provide help and rescue migrants in a situation of risk at sea and, on the other hand, the illegal, aggressive attacks on border controls with an "unacceptable level of violence". We cannot allow that", she concluded.

As regards the approval of the ceiling on spending for the year 2019, Carmen Calvo stressed that the government considers it a priority to amend the Constitutional Law on Budget Stability and Financial Sustainability 2012, which establishes the possibility for the Upper House to veto the decision of the Lower House. This power ceded to the Upper House is "exceptional" in the Spanish legal system, she remarked.

The Vice-President of the Government also stressed that the ceiling on spending proposed by the government, with the application of an additional 0.5% granted by the European Union, will allow "rights to be recovered" and "equalities re-established".

Non official translation