Madrid, 12 March 2013 — Spain’s Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) has severely criticised the secrecy of the Madrid regional government (Community of Madrid), the regional government of Madrid, in regards to the macro project Eurovegas and demands total transparency on this topic.
The Ombudsman has singled out this project as one of “exceptional public interest”, therefore the Community of Madrid needs to be transparent regarding how much they know about the future leisure centre, and must inform interested parties.Since the intention to build Eurovegas in Madrid came to light, the Plataform Eurovegas No (the Platform) has made 12 requests to different institutions for details of the project.
None of the responses have been satisfactory, some due to lack of response, and others as the responses were vague and imprecise, like those of the Ministry of the Industry and the Ministry of Housing.
The Ombudsman, in its response to the complaint raised by the Platform, (of which which Access Info is a member) on the 8th of November, commented that, “The Community must provide information, even if it is only for an expectation has to obtain information, even if it is only for a mere expectation. It is not only the property developer that needs to provide information about the project.”
The questions raised by the Platform through the website tuderechoasaber.esinclude: any study or investigation conducted or commissioned by the Community regarding Eurovegas, information concerning the actual costs of the project for the taxpayer and the possible environmental and social impacts that the project may have. The Platform also requested access to the letters and communications between Las Vegas Sands Corporation and the Community. The Ombudsman mentioned the Community’s adoption of the Law of Fiscal Measures and Administration in December 2012, and contrasted this with the lack of response to the questions raised by the Platform.
The Ombudsman stressed that “there is an imbalance between the lack of response to a citizen’s legitimate request and all approval of a law that is still in the incubation phase.” The Ombudsman will continue with the investigation, and for this will request information regarding: Whether Las Vegas Sands Corporation has submitted any requests for approval as a Centre for Integrated Development for games, leisure and tourism on a large scale; whether the business has submitted an application for an application for a declaration of viability, and if so, if it would have been resolved by the proper Administrator in the field of planning and urban development.
“The opinion of the Ombudsman demonstrates the link between transparency and the fundamental right to freedom of speech: without information it is impossible to have a public debate on a matter of great public interest, like Eurovegas“, said Helen Darbishire, Director of Access Info Europe, one of the members of the Platform.
“It is clear that Spain urgently needs a law of access to information; the Government must act in haste to fill this legal vaccum,” added Darbishire.
The Platform is going to continue with its campaign for greater transparency in the proceedings and decisions regarding Eurovegas in order to clarify the conditions and consequences of the construction of this macro project of which so little is known.
For more information, please contact us on:
Alicia Costas, Access Info Europe
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