Lobbying in the Spanish Constitution

Today, 6 December 2018, it is the 40 anniversary of the approval by referendum of the Spanish Constitution. The founding text of Spanish democracy grants that a public administration which shall serve with objectivity the general interests and shall be governed by the principles of effectiveness and rule of law.

Already in its Preamble, the Magna Carta encourages public authorities to enable participation of all citizens in the public, economic, cultural and social life. This right is specified in its Title I, on fundamental rights and obligations, accepting that these citizens have the right to participate in public affairs, directly or by means of elected representatives.

When regulating public administrations (Article 105), the Constitution envisages a law regulating how these administrations shall hear its citizens, either directly or by means of organisations and associations. Similarly, it provides that access of citizens to archives and administrative registers shall be guaranteed. Likewise, it is obliged, where appropriate, to hear the party concerned in a proceeding which could result in administrative acts affecting him.

The Constitution, due to the historical moment when it was approved, does not explicitly mention the principles of transparency and good governance which compel all administrative acts. In fact, these were not specifically regulated at a Spanish level until five years ago by Law 19/2013, of 9 December, on transparency, access to public information and good governance. However, the inception of this law can be already seen in Article 105.

In fact, the referred provisions constitute the contributions that have enabled during these last 40 years to weave the basket of lobbying or representation of interests in Spain’s democracy. It cannot be otherwise: the participation of citizens in decision-making shall not be confined to electoral participation. Quite the contrary, participation shall be continuous, by different and transparent means.

As recalled by Alexis de Tocqueville: “A political, industrial, commercial association or even scientific and literary, is an illustrated and powerful citizen who cannot be subdued or confined in the shadow and that, by defending his particular rights against the demands of public powers, it saves fundamental freedoms.

In Alonso & Asociados we join this congratulation to the Spanish Constitution, our Constitution, and we will continue to work, as we have been doing for more than 30 years, for a fair, full and transparent representation of these particular rights. This duty, and the conviction of the necessary request for good governance, shall be the safeguard of our common freedoms.

These guiding principles of our professional activity, as well as an exhaustive analysis of its development in the European scene, are perfectly illustrated in the book of our Managing Partner, Emiliano Alonso, El lobby en la Unión Europea. Manual del buen uso de Bruselas (Madrid, 2016). You may find the last edition of the book (2016) here and if you have any doubt on this regard, please do not hesitate to contact us in info@alonsoasociados.com or in the +32(0)2 230 70 42.

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