1706415392 Antonio Rovira member of the Transparency Council that Ayuso wants

Antonio Rovira, member of the Transparency Council that Ayuso wants to control: “We were innovative, autonomous and annoying”

The professor of constitutional law Antonio Rovira (Barcelona, ​​​​1952) is waiting for the reform approved by the PP of Isabel Díaz Ayuso to crystallize and replace a completely independent Transparency Council attached to the Madrid Assembly (where all parties have their three members negotiate). , by another person connected to the executive branch (which appoints its president and sole member). As a former president of the institution, his activity as director will end when the reform is carried out and the old Madrid body is replaced by the new one. “Let’s hope this transit is as short as possible,” he says. Exudes passion for transparency in law enforcement. It avoids controversies that run counter to the president's interests, such as the council's decision to keep open the possibility of a journalist having access to Ayuso's academic records. Although there are times when things are said without saying them.

Questions. The reform adopted by the majority of the PP ensures that the Council, which must control the government, will be subordinate to the executive. Did they annoy the powers that be?

Answer. A guarantee authority must always be annoying because it attracts the attention of those who have the power to govern. In most cases, we have always advocated for the citizen when we have seen an opportunity to provide some or all of the requested information. This annoyed us, but also for one reason: the administration is not used to being forced to provide all public information that does not affect the rights of third parties, it is not used to being obliged to do so. The law and the council force them to do so. The associated effort for the administrations themselves is not small.

Q. What do the residents of Madrid lose if the council is no longer linked to the assembly and is controlled by the government?

R. I argue that being linked to the Assembly gives this guarantee body strength, legitimacy and authority that councils linked to governments may not have. One thing is power, power: the new council will decide as we do. Another thing is the public image, the recognition of the authority of those who do this, even by the institutions that control you. The Auctoritas and the Potestas. Every Guarantee Council has power. Authority has to be earned. It is an external recognition of the work done. And it may be easier for the institution to gain authority if it is tied to the assembly rather than the executive. I dare say the future will be like this.

Rovira, during the interview. Rovira, during the interview. JUAN BARBOSA

What influences the most is what happens next. So you don't miss anything, subscribe.

Subscribe to

Q. And what does the government of Díaz Ayuso have to gain by having a Transparency Council that depends on itself, the executive, and not on the Assembly, the legislature?

R. It is very difficult for me to understand what – in this case political – motivations the government has in changing a law for which it has full legitimacy. I will say clearly that our experience was very innovative. The Assembly created a unique, very progressive body that followed the criteria established by the European Union through a regulation and also by the Council of Europe through decisions. The change made corresponds to another series of councils appointed by the government with the approval of the legislature. We were one step forward. An advance that has been proven to work. And it has worked with a budget a third of that of the cheapest local council in Spain, and with a range of powers double or triple those of many others. We were very autonomous. Why did they do it? [el cambio]? I can't get in there. They will have a reason. It is real. My opinion is the opposite. The connection of this body to the Assembly has demonstrated its independence and effectiveness.

Q. Did the government in Madrid engage in obstructionism?

R. There are administrations whose response is more expensive and administrations that do not agree with our decisions. There was a somewhat intimidating sanctions procedure and they had no choice but to initiate administrative proceedings to prevent the continuation of the procedure and suspend the implementation of the decision. This lies in the legitimacy of the obligated subjects.

Q. For example, the community is engaged in litigation, so the president's academic achievements are not known.

R. Therein lies the great work of the judiciary, which will decide which of the two is right. The three city councilors signed the resolution and after a debate we came to the conclusion that the administration did not have all the information [que se le solicita]and that resolving the request requires that the institution depositing the information resolve the request [la Universidad Complutense].

Antonio Rovira. Antonio Rovira. JUAN BARBOSA

Q. Is there a connection between the authority's decisions against the government's interests and the change in the law?

R. There is no relationship.

Q. And why should citizens worry about transparency working well?

R. Transparency means making it easier to access information so that you can be free and your neurons function. There is no more misinformation than lack of information. In order to choose, live and make decisions, a person must be informed so that his neurons receive nutrition, that is, information. To be free, you have to be informed. The ignorant cannot be free. Administration is always opaque and difficult to access, and there must be institutions that facilitate knowledge of its operations.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter about Madrid here.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits