Describe the main characteristics of the budgetary process (cycle, actors, instruments, etc.) in Spain.
Article 32 of the Ley 47/2003, de 26 de Noviembre, General Presupuestaria defines the Presupuestos Generales del Estado (State’s general budget) as the numeric and systematic expression of the rights and duties to be settled during the year by the organs and entities that constitute the State’s public sector. In this sense, it is important to stress that Article 2 of the sameInstrument lists the entities, which are considered to be part of the State’s public sector to the effects of the State’s general budget. Besides, given the decentralised character of the Spanish State, the general budget coexists with the budgets of the Autonomous Communities, as well as those of the local governments.
As for the legal framework, the four essential instruments regarding the budgetary process are: the Spanish Constitution; the Ley 47/2003, de 26 de Noviembre, General Presupuestaria; the legislation on budgetary stability, mainly the Ley Orgánica 2/2012, de 27 de abril, de Estabilidad Presupuestaria y Sostenibilidad Financiera; and the yearly Orden of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness regarding the rules for the elaboration of the general budget of the State, currently the Orden HAP/981/2013, de 31 de mayo, por la que se dictan las normas para la elaboración de los Presupuestos Generales del Estado para 2014.As for the budgetary cycle, it consists of four main phases:
(1) Elaboration. It starts with the decision on the limit of the non-financial spending for the following year. In this phase, multiple negotiations take place between members of the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration and the rest of ministries and organs of the State.
(2) Debate and adoption by the Parliament. Before the 1st of October, the Government must send the budget and its accompanying documents to the Parliament. If there is no agreement on a new budget in the Parliament, the one of the year before is extended to the following year.
(3) Execution. Once the Parliament has adopted the budget, it becomes a Ley (Ley de Presupuestos Generales del Estado), which enters into force on the 1st of January.
(4) Parliamentary, Judicial and Administrative Control. This phase coexists in time with the third one, on the execution of the budget.
How has the budgetary process changed since the beginning of the financial/Eurozone crisis?
The budgetary process has gone through an enormous amount of legal changes since the beginning of the Eurozone crisis. In fact, many articles of the Ley 47/2003, de 26 de Noviembre, General Presupuestaria, which constitutes the cornerstone of the Spanish budgetary system, have been modified since 2008. The novelties affect a variety of issues, for instance: the rules on the budgetary programming and on the elaboration of the budget (Articles 26 and 36, respectively); the administrative control system by the Intervención General de la Administración del Estado (Articles 144, 151, 159); and the financial operations with the EU (Article 83). Besides, a new law on budgetary stability, the Ley Orgánica 2/2012, de 27 de abril, de Estabilidad Presupuestaria y Sostenibilidad Financiera, has been adopted as a result of the Constitutional reform of Article 135, which introduced the balanced budget rule in the Spanish Constitution. Moreover, this new Ley Orgánica has already been modified by Ley Orgánica 4/2012, de 28 de septiembre, por la que se modifica la Ley Orgánica 2/2012, de 27 de abril, de Estabilidad Presupuestaria y Sostenibilidad Financiera.Furthermore, the Ley Orgánica 6/2013, de 14 de noviembre, de creación de la Autoridad Independiente de Responsabilidad Fiscal, has created an independent body for fiscal responsibility (a fiscal council), which shall guarantee that the balanced budget rule is respected throughout the whole budgetary process.
What institutional changes are brought about by the changes in the budgetary process, e.g. relating to competences of parliament, government, the judiciary and independent advisory bodies?
See answer to questions VII.5 and VII.12.
Change of time-line
How has the time-line of the budgetary cycle changed as a result of the implementation of Euro-crisis law?
See answer to question VII.8.
What other information is relevant with regard to Spain and changes to the budgetary process?
See the answers to the questions on to the six-pack, in particular questions VII.7 and VII.15.