Council of Ministers

Government steps up security on e-government, public sector hiring and telecommunications

Thursday 31 October 2019

The Council of Ministers approved a Royal Decree-Law to adopt emergency measures on security grounds on matters of e-government, public hiring and telecommunications.

The text includes initiatives on the national identity document, electronic identification to public authorities, the data available to such authorities, public hiring and the telecommunications sector. The law, which strengthens the National Security Act, will come into force on Tuesday following its publication in the Official State Gazette.

The Acting Vice-President of the Government, Minister for the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Equality, Carmen Calvo, argued that the urgency of the procedure responds to the need to strengthen the protection of citizen rights and liberties and to the "general interests of the country affecting all people and places".

Carmen Calvo argued that the urgent measures regulated in the Royal Decree-Law affect seven ministerial departments, are proportional and have been taken responsibly. "In the digital arena, things sometimes happen that cannot be redressed. Hence, you have to react smartly, reasonably and proportionally", to so-called cyber threats.

Main initiatives

Pool Moncloa/Fernando CalvoCarmen Calvo stated that the National Identity Documents, which is of an exclusive and exclusionary nature, will be the only document that can validly accredit identity and the personal details of its bearer. She also underlined that the servers that public authorities operate with must be located in the European Union and not in digital safe havens. "We must know where information leaves this country from, who handles it and to what end", she said.

The Acting Vice-President of the Government also explained that citizen access is stepped up to public authorities as well as the protection of their personal data. The law, she added, includes measures on matters of public hiring to guarantee that contractors comply with the legislation on personal data and public security.

In the field of telecommunications, Carmen Calvo highlighted that more cyber threats must be identified, which must be done in an improved manner, and it is necessary to react to espionage and the incorrect use of data in essential cases for the functioning of a democracy, such as electoral processes.

She also stressed that the Royal Decree-Law affects all public authorities and all regional governments.

Subsidies under Common Agricultural Policy

The government has amended the legislation on the application of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the 2020 campaign, with the aim of complying with EU law and speeding up the processing of subsidies.

In addition, this decision fosters the incorporation of young people and new farmers in farming activities and in the agri-food industry, according to the Acting Vice-President of the Government.

Subsidies for unaccompanied minors

The Council of Ministers approved the direct granting of subsidies for the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla to maintain and improve the care provided at reception centres for unaccompanied foreign minors.

Carmen Calvo specified that the subsidies amount to 2.3 million euros for Ceuta and 4.1 million euros for Melilla.

Storm damage caused

The government agreed to new measures to alleviate the damage caused to municipal infrastructures and the road network by the natural disasters that took place between 1 January 2018 and 31 March 2019.

On another note, the Acting Vice-President of the Government announced the approval of another agreement granting almost 18 million euros to the Island Council of Majorca to repair the damage to infrastructures caused by the torrential rainfall and flooding on 9 October 2018.

De-commissioning of Castor gas storage facility

The government has decided to definitively seal off the Castor underground gas storage facilities since, given the current and future consumption of natural gas, the project is no longer viable or indeed necessary.

Enforcement proceedings before Constitutional Court

Pool Moncloa/Fernando CalvoThe government approved the filing of proceedings before the Constitutional Court to enforce the ruling on the agreement of the Board of the Regional Parliament of Catalonia to once again debate the right to self-determination, the monarchy and the ruling on the pro-independence process, even though this was ruled on by the court itself just a few day ago.

The Acting Vice-President of the Government also highlighted that the Council of Ministers agreed to request an urgent report from the Council of State to challenge a motion by the Regional Parliament of Catalonia on the violation of fundamental rights, approved on 24 October.

On another note, Carmen Calvo reported that the Ministry of Justice has commissioned the General State Legal Services to "defend the State law enforcement agencies in the proceedings against them for events related to the exercise of their duties".

Non official translation