Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Spain wants transparency for monarchy



Spain wants transparency for monarchy

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
(From left to right) Spanish Crown Princess of Asturias Leonor, Spain’s King Felipe VI, Spain’s Queen Letizia and Spanish Princess Sofia at the awards ceremony. AFP

Spain wants transparency for monarchy

Spain's leftist government and King Felipe VI have taken steps to boost the transparency of the monarchy, which has been tainted by financial scandals involving senior royals including his father, former monarch Juan Carlos.

Under a decree passed on Tuesday by socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government, the royal palace must publish its budget and make tenders public.

The palace accounts must be audited by the supreme Court of Auditors, while senior palace officials will have to declare their personal wealth both when they take up their post and when they leave.

Gifts given to royals will be catalogued before they are transferred to the state, donated to charity, or become property of the royal palace.

The measures, in line with those already in place at public institutions, were developed with the palace in recent months, minister for the presidency Felix Bolanos said.

“This is a very important step forward in the modernisation, in the exemplarity of the royal palace... a step forward on transparency,” he told a news conference after a weekly cabinet meeting.

“This is the step forward which citizens demanded from the royal palace... from the government,” he said.

The decree was passed a day after the palace unveiled Felipe’s personal wealth for the first time, saying it amounted to around €2.6 million ($2.8 million).

The bulk of the king’s personal wealth takes the form of checking or savings account deposits, with the rest made up of art, antiques and jewellery, the palace said.

His estate stems from his earnings as king, and before that as crown prince, it added.

Probes shelved

Felipe ascended the throne in 2014 and set out to restore the monarchy’s prestige – after his father Juan Carlos abdicated against a backdrop of scandals over his finances and love life.

He ordered an audit of the royal household’s accounts and issued a “code of conduct” for its members.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Spain’s King Felipe VI delivers a speech during the 2021 Princess of Asturias award ceremony at the Reconquista Hotel in Oviedo. AFP

The following year he stripped his older sister, Princess Cristina, of her title of duchess as she prepared to stand trial on tax fraud charges.

While she was ultimately cleared by the courts, her husband Inaki Urdangarin was convicted of fraud and embezzlement.

Then in 2020 Felipe renounced any future personal inheritance he might receive from his father, and stripped him of his annual allowance of €200,000 after fresh details of his allegedly shady dealings emerged.

Months later Juan Carlos, a key figure in Spain’s transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, went into self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.

Spanish prosecutors in March dropped three investigations into the finances of the former king, citing lack of evidence, the statute of limitations and the immunity he enjoyed as head of state.

But the prosecutor’s office nonetheless said it has detected several “fiscal irregularities” in his affairs.

‘Little effect’

The government said the measures unveiled Tuesday will bring the royal palace closer to the “highest standards of other European royal palaces”.

Conservative daily El Mundo said the measures will make it possible to “maintain rigorous and respectful control over the monarch’s heritage so the situations that undermined Juan Carlos’s reputation never happen again”.

But far-left party Podemos, the junior partner in Sanchez’s coalition government, said the measures were unlikely to bring about change.

“As long as the king retains his immunity, any make-up regarding the monarchy will have little effect,” said Pablo Echenique, the parliamentary spokesman for Podemos, which backs the abolition of the monarchy.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’