Council of Ministers

Government approves urgent measures on tax, land registration and social security matters

Friday 27 December 2019

The Council of Ministers approved a Royal Decree-Law containing urgent measures on tax, land registration and social security matters.

The Acting Minister for Education and Vocational Training, and Government Spokesperson, Isabel Celaá, explained that the government is using this legal instrument since it was unable to address these matters through ordinary parliamentary channels as a caretaker government, with the corresponding limited powers.

On tax matters, the Acting Government Spokesperson highlighted that the limits on tax invoicing by module for independent contractors is extended to 2020. Wealth tax will also remain in force in 2020.

The law approved updates, upwards or downwards, to the land values of urban properties for next year. A total of 1,092 municipalities will see land values updated, to be applied as from 1 January.

This measure, pointed out Isabel Celaá, is a result of the extension of the National Budget also approved on Friday by the government.

Pensions and minimum wage

The Acting Government Spokesperson announced that, once the new government is formed, it will raise pensions by 0.9% in line with the Consumer Price Index for 2019, with retroactive effects from 1 January 2020.

As regards the minimum wage, the government has extended the present amount until the figure is set for 2020 "following the necessary social dialogue between workers' representatives and business organisations".

Isabel Celaá added that the pension "safeguard clause" will also be extended, which will benefit some 26,000 workers who had lost their jobs prior to August 2011 but who will be able to continue receiving their retirement benefits from prior to that date.

62 million euros to repair storm damage

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe government authorised investments for a total sum of 62 million euros to repair the damage caused by the heavy rainfall caused by the Cold Drop (Spanish acronym: DANA) which affected the hydrographic confederations of the Rivers Segura and Júcar, and various coastal zones in the month of September.

Isabel Celaá specified that investments are authorised for a sum of 46.5 million euros to repair infrastructures, rivers, channels and other watercourses in the provinces of Alicante, Murcia, Almeria an Albacete. Another 3.9 million euros are also allocated for similar repairs in associated areas in the Region of Valencia and Castile-La Mancha.

Coastal areas in the provinces of Tarragona, Castellon, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Almeria, Granada and Malaga will receive 11.4 million euros to alleviate the destruction to beaches, sandy areas, dune systems and coastal wetlands, with special attention to those zones included in the Red Natura 2000 [Nature 2000 Network].

Nuclear waste management

The government has set the single tariff at 0.798 kilowatt hour to calculate the amount that nuclear power stations pay to the National Radioactive Waste Enterprise (Spanish acronym: ENRESA) to manage their nuclear waste. This tariff will come into force on 1 January 2020.

Isabel Celaá stated that this amount finances the nuclear fuel management services and radioactive services for the decommissioning of installations and the commissions assigned to local authorities where production centres or waste storage facilities are located.

The Acting Government Spokesperson explained that the tariff has not been revised since 2010, and hence it must be adapted to the variation in the estimates of future costs drawn up by ENRESA. She also recalled that the new tariff is adapted to the orderly and scaled closure of Spanish nuclear facilities as reflected in the draft National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 presented to the European Commission.

Urgent contracts due to organisation of COP25

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe Council of Ministers authorised urgent contracts to be fast-tracked as a result of the organisation of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25), held in Madrid from 2 to 15 December.

Isabel Celaá pointed out that the performance of multiple urgent actions, some of which could not be dealt with by Central Government resources, meant they needed to be outsourced.

Although not definitively closed off, the amount of the contracts stands at around 50 million euros, she said, in addition to 3.1 million euros under the headquarters agreement with the United Nations.

These figures, claimed the acting minister, will make the COP25 the second cheapest conference held in the last nine years, after the COP19 held in Warsaw (Poland) in 2013, as well as being one with the largest participation.

Progressive government for 2020

At the start of her speech at the press briefing, the Acting Government Spokesperson stated her wish to open up a new era in 2020, with "a progressive government in which equality, social justice, feminism, ecology and the pro-Europe movement are the drivers" of its action.

Isabel Celaá advocated consolidating dialogue and reaching concerted agreements, and to putting aside differences to guarantee co-existence along with the territorial diversity and ideological plurality of the country within the framework of the rule of law.

She also reiterated that exiting the political stalemate is not just the responsibility of the party that won the elections, but also of the rest of the parliamentary forces.

Government executive action

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaIsabel Celaá recalled that the largest public employment offer since 2008 was approved in 2019, the cuts in education were reversed and the Climate Agenda and a Strategic Framework for Energy and Climate were presented.

On labour matters, the Master Plan for Dignified Work was set in motion, as was the Return Plan for Exiles and the Strategic Plan for Vocational Training. Furthermore, the gradual alignment of maternity and paternity leave was initiated, which will continue until 2021, and a boost was given to protecting victims of gender-based violence.

The government also authorised the regional governments to reinvest their surpluses from 2018, the process to exhume the dictator, Francisco Franco, from the Valley of the Fallen, was completed and Spain organised the Climate Conference.

Economic and judicial action

At an economic level, Isabel Celaá stressed that immediate decisions must be taken to protect the most needy and cater for the necessities of citizens.

At a judicial level, the Acting Government Spokesperson conveyed that the courts must be left alone to act in line with the principle of legality. In her opinion, the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union "must not be considered as a setback for Spanish justice", because there are not two justice systems. "There is only one because Spain is a full member of the European institutions and the European judges are as much ours as our own domestic judges".

As regards the Supreme Court, Isabel Celaá stated that "the law will be applied proportionally and pursuant to the principles of legality that emanate from the Spanish Constitution and the Treaty on European Union".

Non official translation