Car Parks- Gonzales-Varas Interview

December 31st 2010

The last issue of Més Xàbia, (the Town Hall bulletin) includes an interview with Santiago González-Varas, Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Alicante, and counsel for the Town Council in the process of "rescuing" the underground car parks.

In the interview, which supports the ruling coalition's explanation of why the car parks should be bought, the lawyer explains what this process is, and in which cases it applies, stating that "the Town takes action to ensure the continuity of public services and optimise management," it is "better than keeping a concession with continuing losses."

González-Varas says in this interview (unfortunately, to which the press were not invited), that the rescue comes "in part by exclusion" and explains:

"You start to realise what is happening, that things are not going well. The company seeks compensation for the deficit that is occuring. It raises questions. Then you think what to do. If there is no breach by the contractor, a perfectly legitimate option is the rescue, so that it passes into public hands, avoids more serious consequences and achieves the well-being of the town's inhabitants. "

For González-Varas, "rescue has to be seen as a lesser evil to solve a problem" because "it seems best to rescue rather than not assume the possibility of continuous injections of public money in other ways." And, as the professor says, "there is always some legal uncertainty or subjectivity because on the one hand there is risk and chance, and on other, the right to be compensated for economic balance."

González-Varas does not take risks, he is not a judge, and only an advisor. After all, the final decision rests solely with politicians, but he let slip that: "I personally think in this case that the company has no such rights "affirmation of the claims made by the opposition.

In the interview he made no mention of the possibility of extending the concession period, an option mentioned in legal briefs in which a judge suggested this as a way for the company to obtain economic rebalancing. This argument was also used by the opposition in opposing the purchase of the car parks.
Santiago González-Varas presented a review of cases where the rescue of a public concession had taken place, stating that "it is certainly possible in law, but the decision rests solely with politicians." The article ends with a list of public concessions that ultimately had to be rescued by administrations, a phenomenon that "also affects the national administration in a worrying and significant way"

The interview (in Castellano) can be downloaded from:

From XAD:El Ayuntamiento justifica....

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