Brussels has been left unimpressed and is urging the country to do more to crackdown on bent politicians after it discovered Spain is the largest contributor to the €120 billion that the EU loses to corruption each year.
It says Madrid is unable to control the councils and mayors in the autonomous regions, who have wide-ranging and discretionary powers over urban planning.
The news comes as former mayor of Marbella, Angeles Munoz, is being probed after allegedly altering town planning rules to benefit her property-developing husband.
The report points out how in 2011 alone there were 1,754 lawsuits related to the illegal use of land and urban planning.
It is now asking Spain to improve the way it approaches its corruption problem, which it described as systemic.
It added that even the Transparency Act, which it had described as a
step forward, lacks sufficient independent mechanisms capable of weeding out crooked politicians.
It has now suggested each political party carry out and publish an independent annual audit in a bid to improve transparency.
It also raised concerns over the lack of checks that are made on local administrations’ public spending.
The nature of Spain as a highly decentralised state, it said, allows for the fervent corruption among regional authorities.
Between 1996 and 2009, the report laments, there were more than 5,000 cases of corruption spanning over 600 municipalities.
Spaniards are unlikely to be shocked by the news, however, with 95% perceiving corruption as a widespread problem and a part of their daily lives.