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The central government is preparing a new Act on Foundations.

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Spain/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.8 Other areas of culture specific legislation

On the one hand, it should be noted that the role of associations and foundations have long been involved in cultural activities. Regarding associations, Article22 of the Constitution upholds the right to associate as a fundamental right. The approach of the current legislation (1/2002), which amended the former Association Act of 1964, is to cover both the right to associate and the outcome of such association, i.e., the resulting organisation. The aim was to create a new "umbrella law" covering all those organisations lacking specific regulation. Therefore bodies such as political parties, trade unions, management associations, religious bodies, sports federations and consumers' organisations were excluded.

Almost all associations have cultural aims of one description or another, occasionally of a private nature, but mostly public. In fact, the Act makes a commitment to culture one of the main requirements for an association to be allowed to call itself "publicly useful", an essential requisite for several advantages, notably tax breaks. The regions are allowed to give this status to associations operating mainly within their boundaries, whenever they are registered in a database which is co-ordinated by the national register of associations. Some regions have approved their own laws of association: Catalonia (7/1997 Act); the Canary Islands (4/2003 Act), Andalusia (4/2006 Act), the Basque Country (7/2007 Act) and Valencian Community (14/2008 Act).

With respect to foundations, following the restoration of democracy, they were initially regulated by the 30/1994 Act on Foundations and fiscal incentives for private participation in activities of general interest, an Act that finally abolished the limitations on such bodies. It was superseded by the Foundations Act (50/2002), which simplified the procedures and removed the controls imposed by the state on foundations via the "protectorates".

The Act 50/2002 lists the kind of cultural objectives required by a foundation seeking to acquire a general interest status. This represents a significant departure from the traditional ban in Spain on personal or family trusts, i.e., settlements designed to benefit individuals or their descendants. This legal prohibition is waived when parties to the foundation undertake to conserve cultural property and, in particular, open it to the public under the terms of the 1985 Historical Heritage Act. Again, the powers to approve the status of such foundations are also given to the regions, resulting in the creation of both a central foundation register and regional foundation registers. Various regions have introduced their own legislation: Basque Country (12/1994 Act, to be replaced in 2015 by a new Act), Navarre (10/1996 Act), the Canary Islands (2/1998 Act), Madrid (1/1998 Act), Valencian Community (8/1998 Act), Catalonia (5/2001 Act), Castile-Leon (13/2002 Act), Andalusia (10/2005 Act), Galicia (12/2006 Act), and La Rioja (1/2007 Act).

The central government is also preparing a new Act on Foundations, with the aim of revising the general legal regime of foundations, and to create a register that can manage effectively and according to the needs of publicity and transparency.

On the other hand, in 2007, the so-called Act on Historical Memory (52/2007 Act) was approved with the aim of establishing measures in favour of those who suffered persecution or violence during the civil war and dictatorship period. With this act, the government seeks to foster values and democratic principles, disseminate knowledge of the facts and circumstances that occurred during the civil war and the dictatorship, as well as to ensure the preservation of the historical documents deposited in public archives.

Chapter published: 24-06-2015

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