Collage from FEMP´s 40th anniversary event, Source: FEMP

On its 40th anniversary FEMP calls for a second wave of decentralization

On its 40th anniversary FEMP calls for a second wave of decentralization

The body representing Spanish municipalities sees that as democracy delivered closer to home

Yesterday, 14 June, The Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) marked 40 years since the act that established its existence in 1981 in Torremolinos, which was then a neighbourhood of Malaga.

This was at a time of rapid democratization of the Spanish state following the Franco dictatorship period. Further democratization was what the President of FEMP, Abel Caballero, also called for during his speech on the occasion of the anniversary.

More local democracy would mean more autonomy in funding local economic recovery

Caballero called for the decentralization of powers and resources from the autonomous regions to the local governments. He stressed that while "the policy of competences is for some a politics of power, which they do not want to give up”, for the local governments it is “a policy of attention to the citizen…that is the participatory form of politics”. 

For the President of FEMP, local politics goes beyond its current competencies because the mayors and the councillors are the closest reference points for residents to express their needs or demands in matters ranging from a bench in the park, to airport transportation or hospital-related issues.

In addition to a second-tier decentralization, the President of FEMP also demanded the management of Next Generation EU Funds to become a prerogative of local authorities. Caballero praised the role of local governments during the pandemic, "because they were the ones that maintained the cities". 

Due to this capacity, he explained that municipal work continues in managing European Funds "for the citizens" since, in his opinion, local administrations were best qualified for such a task. He also assured the audience that there were continuous talks with the Spanish Government in order to keep advancing in that direction.

The national executive branch was represented by Miquel Iceta, the Minister of Territorial Policy, who explained that 40% of the funds assigned to his institution will go to local administrations. He declared that the voices of the lower-tier administrations will be heard by the national government in Madrid.

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