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Government to ban regional authorities from excluding newly-registered citizens
Tuesday, January 24, 2023 @ 5:48 PM

The Council of Ministers has approved the preliminary draft of a new law on social services, leaving overall power, as it is now, in the hands of the autonomous communities, but establishing a common framework of minimum services with which all regional authorities will have to comply. Within this framework, services deemed to be essential will have to be provided to all citizens, regardless of how long they have been registered in a particular area.

What was approved last week is only a first step, with the draft bill set to pass through the Council of Ministers again in a few weeks’ time and, subsequently, be debated in Congress. Once it receives the green light from the legislature, regional authorities and the Ministry of Social Rights will have to agree on which social services are to be considered essential, thus establishing the basic benefits that all autonomous regions will be obliged to guarantee to every citizen.

The preliminary draft already gives some clues about the reach of this new ruling that aims to "modernise services" and establish "a common minimum floor of care throughout the country as well as a common information system". The previous requirement to have been on an area’s census for a certain amount of time in order to access a service or basic benefit will be removed. This will benefit citizens who have moved from other regions of country and foreigners who have emigrated to Spain.

With respect to the latter, the new regulation establishes that "all persons with effective residence in the Spanish State are entitled to the rights contained within this law, without any distinction or exclusion whatsoever". It thus guarantees the universal provision of all the services deemed to be essential by the regional authorities and the central government, since it states that "foreigners, whatever their administrative situation, will have access to the basic services and benefits included in the common catalogue of essential services and benefits".

Right to mobility

Although they will no longer be able to set a minimum period of census registration as a requirement for the provision of social services, regional authorities will continue to have the power to require those who wish to access these benefits to register in their area. This, however, will not prevent beneficiaries of social services who spend time outside their autonomous community from receiving the same benefits in another part of Spain.



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