The presidents of organizations such as the National Stock Market Commission (CNMV) or the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) will have to be more careful in their decisions if they go ahead, as it seems that it will be, a proposal of the PSOE and More Country. Both parties have signed an interim report on how to tighten the vigilance of the independent authorities, and among the ideas they are considering is that of creating a new parliamentary commission to give more demanding audiences to the candidates to preside over such bodies and to carry out a more exhaustive follow-up of their efforts.
This is stated in a document signed by the PSOE and More Country and that, according to parliamentary sources familiar with the talks, could arouse the support of Unidos Podemos and ERC. This Wednesday it will be known why the Committee for the Audit of Democratic Quality is going to meet in order to configure the text that will serve as basis for final report on the impartiality of the independent authorities of the State, that is, the aforementioned commissions, the Spanish Agency for Data Protection, the AiRef or the Nuclear Safety Council. The parliamentary sources consulted do not specify yet whether the Bank of Spain, as a supervisory body, will also be affected. You have to wait for the final writing.
The hearings of the United States
The text signed by the PSOE and Más País, which you have accessed ‘The Newspaper of Spain‘, is clearly committed to granting the Cortes Generales a more active role in the appointment of the presidents of the independent authorities and in the supervision of their actions. The role model is that of the “hearing” of the United States, “where a serious and exhaustive investigation is produced on the professional profile of the proposed persons”, point out the authors of the interim report.
As stated in the proposal, it is about use the current Appointments Committee and reinforce its functions until it is completely renewed. The Commission already exists; It is the one that examined the suitability of Enrique Arnaldo, Concepción Espejel, Inmaculada Montalbán and Ramón Sáez to be new magistrates of the Constitutional Court. As it was seen then, the deputies formulate a series of questions, the applicants answer them and the Commission itself draws up the criteria of suitability. It is enough for a majority to endorse the appointments for them to become effective.
In its new role, the Appointments Advisory Committee, which would be called that way, will be in charge not only of issuing these opinions, but also of “controlling the work of said authorities and drawing up the ethical codes of each body.” Likewise, by seeing its functions strengthened, will hold preliminary hearings for the placet to the candidates much more severe and ambitious.
Rules of behavior and sanctions
As the report recognizes, there is already a strict regime of incompatibilities and conflicts of interest. However, PSOE and Más País advocate introducing changes that result in more transparency. One of them consists of the obligation to record the meetings that the heads of the regulatory entities hold with authorities of the regulated entities.
Another suggestion refers to the design of a more restrictive mechanism for internal and external controls, which would be largely supported by the preparation of codes of conduct. This is where the Parliamentary Commission whose existence the PSOE and More Country want to promote would enter. They would derive from both initiatives a regime of infractions and another of sanctions, “in such a way that its non-compliance carries a legal consequence in the form of a sanction after a sanctioning due procedure with all the defense guarantees and regulated by law.”
Qualified majority in the Lower House
Excellence and professionalism are the requirements demanded for high-level appointments such as those mentioned. In the report PSOE and Más País do not discuss or question the power of the Government to do so, since it is the main organ of the State that emanates from popular sovereignty represented in Congress. Now, in the same way that the Chamber supervises the action of the Executive, various parliamentary bodies have to assume the control independent authorities and regulatory bodies.
The signatories consider, however, that “the current requirements are excessively lax.” Those that concern the authorities of said parliamentary bodies. To overlap these holes, the report relies on the opening of public tenders prior to the appointment, which would be articulated by the concerned Ministry. It already happens with the Spanish Agency for Data Protection.
In addition to the active involvement of the Parliamentary Commission, PSOE and Más País will promote that the suitability reports do not prosper with simple majorities, but with qualified majorities, that is, with percentages stipulated in advance. For example, the renewals of the constitutional organs require the “ok” of three fifths of the Congress and the Senate.
The mandates of the highest authorities would be six years, like the one held by the governor of the Bank of Spain, without going any further.
Adequate templates and funding
The independent authorities, due to the functions they exercise, which is to set objective contours for decision-making in certain matters, such as monetary or business competition, so that they escape from partisan motivations, they must have a suitable structure, both in terms of the number of workers and the funding they receive.
But, as news, PSOE and Más País propose to provide these authorities with specific legal bodies (They cannot appeal to the State’s attorneys) and eliminate elevation resources before the general administration.
Differences in jobs
Parliamentary sources who have participated in the previous work indicate that the document has been promoted by the president of the Democratic Audit Commission, the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón. Already in the summer, after the work of a subcommittee created precisely to analyze an improvement in the impartiality and independence of the regulatory bodies, he began to write it and a few weeks ago he put it in the hands of the PSOE to give your go-ahead. He has given it.
There were expectations in opposition formations, such as the PP or the PNV, that the construction of the report would be more choral, but in the end it will have a basis previously agreed by More Country and by the main parliamentary group, the PSOE. The political differences will shine through this Wednesday, although it will not be the first time. For the definition of those appearing in the subcommittee, the PSOE and United We Can They vetoed the attendance of the former lawyer of Podemos José Manuel Calvente.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.