SPAIN’S Socialist government is proposing new legislation that gives the state extraordinary powers if and when a state of crisis is declared.

The changes to the National Security Law come in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic when Spain twice declared a state of emergency. 

It outlines measures that could see the government requisition private assets and suspend activity if a state of crisis was declared which is described in the draft as a “situation of interest to national security”.

The draft law currently being prepared by the government indicates that all citizens must follow the orders and instructions of the relevant authorities if the ‘state of crisis’  is declared.

It also states that all adults will be required to provide “personal services” if the need arises, although it does not explicitly refer to provisions for mandatory military service, which was suspended in 2001.

The reform will also allow authorities to temporarily requisition all types of assets and includes a provision to determine compensation for those who are economically harmed by the action.

The document also states that media organisations must work with the relevant authorities to inform citizens if a state of crisis is declared.

It also states that business and legal entities will be required to work with authorities to overcome the crisis, whether materially or by providing services.

According to a report in El Pais, the wording of the draft law is based on Article 30 of the Spanish Constitution, which states that “Spaniards have the duty and the right to defend Spain.”

The new law is widely seen as a response to the coronavirus pandemic and is designed to make it easier to mobilise the country’s resources to respond to a crisis, such as a health emergency.

The law will include provisions for the National Security Council to draw up a list of human and material resources that could be used in case of a future crisis.

For example, companies with the capability could be tasked with producing PPE or health equipment to avoid a dearth in supply that was seen at the start of the coronavirus crisis.

The draft was given a first reading by the Spanish Cabinet on June 22 and once approved by the Cabinet it will be presented to Spain’s Congress for debate and a vote.


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