Eduardo González. Madrid
Twelve autonomous communities have joined the measure launched by the Commission for the Reform of Public Administration (CORA, in Spanish), by the Ministry of the Presidency, which deals with the integration of autonomous “embassies” within the State’s foreign representation offices. This measure equates to a saving of more than 22 million over a three year period, for all the public administrations.
According to CORA’s latest quarterly report, “the existence of a close collaboration between the State and the autonomous communities is indispensable” with a view to “the effective application of a unit of action abroad”, in order to ensure that the autonomous communities can “efficiently carry out their projection abroad of their areas of interest, without prejudice to those of the State and within the framework of mutual institutional loyalty”.
There are currently more than 160 autonomous representation offices, commercial or touristic, abroad, and the aim of the Government is that at least 132 of these offices move into the Spanish embassies in order to reduce costs and join forces.
In this, the communities are showing “a very high degree of collaboration”, according to CORA, which has pointed out that the measure, which allows for the sharing of means and services, has meant savings of more than 65,000 euros for each of the autonomous communities and of close to 9,000 euros savings for the central government for each office, with a total savings that, at the end of 2013 (latest official estimate) was expected to be of 22 million over three years.
Twelve autonomous communities use central administration facilities abroad
According to CORA, the Ministry of Foreign Relations has signed, to date, a number of protocols and agreements with Andalucía, Aragón, the Canaries, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia and the Comunidad Valenciana for the integration of 57 autonomous offices within the offices that the State has abroad, of which 38 have already carried out the move. Catalonia and the Basque Country have specifically rejected these integrations measures and the Balearic Islands, Navarra and Asturias don’t have a diplomatic network abroad.
In addition, six autonomous communities (Aragón, La Rioja, Navarra, Asturias, Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha) have moved into the headquarters of the Spanish Permanent Representation (REPER, in Spanish) in Brussels , and the Comunidad Valenciana and Galicia have also agreed to make the move, but the details are yet to be finalised.