The Spanish Council of Ministers meeting held on Friday 25 January has given the green light to the Market Unity Guarantees Bill (hereinafter, the “Act”) aimed at ensuring the free movement of goods and services throughout the Spanish territory.

The Act, inspired by the principle of single license which is already in force in the EU Single Market, meets the need to “eliminate the many hurdles to carrying out a business, resulting from the existing regulation clutter set out by the different levels of the Government”, in accordance to the European Council.

Thus, any marketed good or any service provided under any regional rule shall be offered throughout the whole national territory without the need of any additional application.

The main new features of the Act are:

a. Single commercial license: The license given by an Autonomous Community shall be enough to market products and to provide services throughout the whole national territory.

b. Cooperation between Public Administrations: a procedure for data exchange is established between the Public Administrations and authorities of the place of origin and the ones of the place of destination, who shall share a single electronic database to exercise control and supervisory tasks.

c. Council for Market Unity: an administrative cooperation body is created, presided by the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration, in charge of (i) rationalizing the regulations and promoting changes towards the elimination of obstacles to the market unity, (ii) keeping track of the cooperation mechanisms and (iii) ensuring the effective integration of sector registries.

 d. Agile procedure of conflict resolution: economic operators may challenge before the future National Commission of Markets and Competence all acts or sanctions adopted by Public Administrations that they consider being a violation of the market unity, and therefore an obstacle to the free movement of their goods or services.

The overabundant set of rules in Spain implies a clear disincentive to invest; it increases legal insecurity and prevents companies from benefiting from the economies of scale.

The Act, waiting to be processed before the Parliament, attends to a global claim from Spanish and foreign economic operators, business employers and investors.

Belén Berlanga