Council of Ministers

The Government of Spain passes the Organic Law on the Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Tuesday 6 July 2021

The Council of Ministers has approved the referral to Parliament of the Draft Organic Law on the Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom, which represents progress in the comprehensive protection of women, in their right to sexual freedom and in the eradication of all sexual violence.

The Minister for the Treasury and Government Spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, stressed that the future law is part of the commitment of the coalition, feminist and progressive Executive to the expansion of rights, effective equality between men and women and the adaptation of the legal framework to the realities and social demands and to international standards. It also places Spain at the forefront in the protection of women and children.

Montero stressed that the text focuses on women's consent as a fundamental aspect on which crimes against sexual freedom are based. This complies with the Istanbul Convention on the maxim that "only yes is yes", making it clear that silence or passivity does not mean consent, or that not showing opposition cannot be an excuse for acting against the will of the victim.

"We have to transform sexual culture by putting consent at the centre of our attention and the issue that we want to transmit from the government is very clear: if you don't want to participate in any sexual act," said the minister.

Montero explained that the rule distinguishes between "abuse" and "sexual assault". From now on, "any sexual conduct without consent will be considered sexual assault". The offence of rape will therefore no longer be reserved only for cases involving violence or intimidation. The minister also announced that the penalties currently envisaged for these crimes will be maintained, except in the case of gang rape, which will have higher penalties.

The spokesperson stressed that it is a comprehensive law, and that the ministries for Equality, Justice, Interior, Territorial Policy and Public Function, and Social Rights and Agenda 2030 participated in its drafting. The law regulates everything from investigation, education, training and prevention to victim care, the actions of the State Security Forces and Corps, access to justice and the right to reparation.

María Jesús Montero has expressed her confidence that the text of this "pioneering and necessary" law will be approved in Parliament with a broad consensus and by an absolute majority.

Agreement to reduce temporary employment in the public sector

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe Council of Ministers has approved the Royal Decree-Law on urgent measures to reduce the temporary nature of public employment, the aim of which is to bring the temporary employment rate to below 8% in public administrations as a whole.

María Jesús Montero welcomed the consensus reached on this issue following the holding of two Sectoral Conferences on Public Administration, the meeting of the General Negotiating Committee of Public Administrations and the agreement with the CC.OO, UGT and CSIF trade unions. "It is a reform that was urgently needed in our country because the public sector has to be exemplary in its use of temporary employment," he said, arguing that the aim should be to create permanent jobs in both the public and private sectors.

Article 10 of the Consolidated Text of the Basic Statute of the Public Employee (TREBEP) will be reformed in its Article 10, on interim civil servants, to determine only four modalities allowed for their appointment: filling vacancies that cannot be filled by career civil servants, with a maximum duration of three years; temporarily replacing the civil servants holding the positions for the time strictly necessary; implementing temporary programmes with a duration of three years, extendable for a further twelve months depending on the case, and finally, for excess or accumulation of tasks with a maximum period of nine months within a period of eighteen months.

The minister informed that a final stabilisation process will be carried out that will affect all structural positions, endowed with a budget, occupied on a temporary and uninterrupted basis for at least three years prior to 31 December 2020, and that have not been included in the stabilisation processes of 2017 and 2018. Those who do not pass these selection processes will receive financial compensation equivalent to 20 days of their fixed remuneration per year of service, with a maximum of 12 monthly payments.

Purchasing power of pensions secured

The Government has analysed the Draft Bill to guarantee the purchasing power of pensions and other measures to reinforce the financial and social sustainability of the public system following the agreement reached with the social partners.

The spokesperson explained that, once the law has been approved, pensions will be revalued according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of the previous year, a "fair and long-awaited demand by pensioners."

In addition, in order to strengthen the pension system over the coming decades, the text includes a set of measures aimed at bringing the effective retirement age closer to the ordinary retirement age.

María Jesús Montero remarked that the draft bill addresses the core issues highlighted by the Toledo Pact. Incentives for delayed retirement are increased through a cheque of up to 12,000 euros per year, an additional 4% pension for life or a combination of both. Forced retirement clauses that may be included in collective agreements have also been done away with, with certain exceptions. And the reduction coefficients for early retirement have been improved and made more flexible.

On the other hand, the draft bill repeals the sustainability factor of the 2013 reform, which has been replaced by a new intergenerational equity mechanism that will be agreed with the social partners in the coming months and will operate from 2027. Furthermore, funding sources have also been separated.

The Minister for the Treasury stressed that the agreement signed between the Government and the social partners includes other very important measures that will be implemented in the coming months, such as the contribution of the self-employed based on real income, the equalisation of unmarried couples' access to widows' and widowers' pensions, and the contribution of scholarship holders.

Public hearing phase for the Startups Act

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe Council of Ministers has agreed to submit the Draft Bill on the Promotion of the Start-up Ecosystem, known as the Start-up Act, to a public hearing .

The Second Vice-President of the Government and Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, explained that the new regulation is part of one of the main structural reform axes of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan to improve business demographics and the business climate, increase the size of companies, boost entrepreneurship and strengthen the emerging ecosystem of innovative start-ups, especially in the new digital economy.

The goal, she said, is to "increase productivity, quality employment, strengthen the productive fabric and have a greater and better outlook for future growth and welfare for our country." To this end, the government will also soon submit two other draft bills to a public hearing, one for business creation and growth -the Create and Grow Act- and the other for reform of the insolvency law.

Promoting start-ups

Today's draft foresees a package of measures to promote start-ups through tax benefits, investment support instruments and talent attraction. To be considered as such, companies must be innovative, have a turnover of less than 5 million euros, have their head office and more than half of their employment contracts in Spain, have been active for less than 5 years -up to 7 years in the biotechnology, energy or industrial sectors- and they cannot be a listed company or have distributed dividends.

Among the tax and fiscal measures proposed to make Spain attractive to this type of company is the reduction of the corporate and non-resident income tax rate from the general rate of 25% to 15% for a maximum of 4 years. Measures have also been adopted in favour of stock options as a means of payment or remuneration for the company's employees. And a favourable tax regime has been created for digital nomads -teleworkers who move to Spanish territory- by relaxing the requirements for accessing the non-resident income tax regime and the creation of a specific visa for people working in Spain for foreign companies.

The promotion of investment -business angels- has been reinforced by raising the maximum deduction base for investment in new or recently created companies from 60,000 to 100,000 euros per year, the deduction rate from 30 to 40% and the period in which the company is considered to be newly created.

The simplification of administrative procedures, collaboration between start-ups and other companies, permeability with universities and research centres and innovative public procurement by the administration are other aspects included in the law. Calviño stressed that entrepreneurship will also be encouraged outside the existing urban centres "to promote economic growth and innovation throughout Spain."

More doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaExecutive has agreed to extend the number of doses of the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine that Spain will receive between the second and fourth quarter of 2022. Specifically, 18,589,175 doses will arrive during this period thanks to the second agreement reached between the European Commission and the pharmaceutical company.

María Jesús Montero has indicated that the government has invested five billion euros in order to meet the objective of acquiring herd immunity in August. She also stressed that there is an "excellent" rate of vaccination, as 40% of the population has been fully vaccinated and 56% have received at least one dose.

However, the minister called on the younger population groups, who have not yet received the vaccine and where incidence rates have risen, to make a last-ditch effort to defeat the virus. "The fact that we are much, much better off than we were a few months ago does not mean that we can relax measures, that we can stop protecting or looking after ourselves and others," she said.

Other agreements

  • Agreement on the territorial distribution of 687 million euros among the autonomous communities for the National Plan for Digital Skills and new public policies for a dynamic, resilient and inclusive labour market.
  • The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) has been authorised to call for grants for NGO development and education projects in other countries.
  • The distribution of 511 million euros from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the conservation and restoration of ecosystems, their biodiversity and the preservation of coastal space and water resources has been approved.

Current Affairs

During her appearance with the media, the spokesperson expressed the Government's solidarity with the family and friends of Samuel Luiz, the young man murdered this weekend in A Coruña, the victim of an attack that is being investigated and may have been the result of homophobic behaviour.

Non official translation