The Parliament is a democratic elected body which represents the interest of Galician citizens, almost 3 million inhabitants, not only at regional level but also at European level through the European Regional Parliaments network. In particular, the Parliament has legislative and budgetary responsibilities, is in charge of the election of the Regional Government and President, and the control and political support for the Executive. Moreover, the Parliament, has, under the Spanish Constitution, Legislative initiative before the Congress of Deputies, appoints three Senators to the Senate and it is entitled before the constitutional Court.
The parliamentary functioning is split into 8 working legislative standing commissions:
- Institutional, General Administration, Justice and Home affairs
- Land Management, Public Works, Environment and Services
- Economy, Tax and Budgets
- Education and Culture
- Healthcare, Social Policy and Employment
- Industry, Energy, Commerce and Tourism
- Agriculture, Food, Cattle and Rural Setting
- Fishing and Seafood Farming
These commissions prepare the debate for the Plenary Sittings on drafts legislation and proposals which correspond to them owing to the matter in hand.
Further to this, the Parliament has three standing commissions established by legal provision:
- on Regulations
- on the statutes of MPs
- on Petitions
- Commission with the Audit Council
- Commission for Controlling the Radio-TV Company of Galicia
And three non standing commissions for the current parliamentary term, based on current relevant issues for Galician citizens:
- Commission for the Study on Disability Policies
- Commission on Road Safety
- Commission for the Study of Gender Equality and Women Rights
The personnel at the service of the Administration in the Parliament of Galicia is classified into the following:
- Career Civil Servant personnel
- Temporary administrative personnel
- Contract personnel (either permanent or temporary)
- Temporary advisory personnel
The Administration of the Parliament has the following organizational structure:
- Parliamentary Bureau
- Chief Clerk’s Office. Secretariat General:
- General Accounts and Economic Matters Unit
- Human Resources and Internal Regime Unit
- Parliamentary Support Unit
- Publications Unit
- Information Technology Unit
It is worth highlighting that the presidency cabinet, apart from other technical functions, is in charge of protocol activities, communication and citizens’ relations which boost the knowledge of the Galician Parliament, give citizenship information and develop educational programs on social values and citizens’ awareness (values of dialogue, cohabitation, mutual understanding).
The Parliament also has paid and unpaid internship programs. The paid internship is composed by ten interns selected by the Parliament to give support to different parliamentary departments. The unpaid internship is made up of external interns coming from three Galician Universities: the University of Santiago de Compostela, the University of A Coruña and the University of Vigo, under a collaborative agreement between the Galician Parliament and these institutions.
One of the main goals of the Parliament of Galicia is to convey as effectively as possible to all Galician citizens the work that this institution is conducting to address their needs and to engage them with democratic life.
To that end, the Parliament of Galicia broadcasts live all the plenary sessions and working committees sessions which are also available to download, at anytime, from the Galician Parliament website. The Parliament of Galicia is notably involved in making its work accessible to all Galician citizens and beyond, especially to those with some kind of disability, such as deaf people. It is for this reason that the Galician Parliament broadcasts all its plenary sessions with sign language.
The official languages in Galicia are Spanish and Galician, a regional minority language that is protected by the Council of Europe Charter for Regional languages across Europe. The work of the Galician Parliament is carried out both in Spanish and (especially) in Galician. It is therefore crucial to have a tool such as one proposed by ILSA that can enable the production of transcripts of all parliamentary working commissions into Galician and/or Spanish.
Although the Galician Parliament does not have experience in any previous European project, it is very active at a European level, boosting European regional democracy by taking part in the EU decision-making process and improving the quality of new laws through the subsidiarity principle, so that EU policies can face territorial needs in the most effective and efficient way.
Moreover, the Galician Parliament is committed to supporting research and learning programs by signing collaboration agreements with Galician universities. In particular, it has three collaboration agreements, one with the University of Santiago de Compostela, another one with the University of A Coruña and the last one with the University of Vigo, aiming to bring university students to the Parliament of Galicia and allowing them to develop their external internships at our premises. This constitutes an important step through youth involvement in democratic functioning and thus future generations’ commitment with democratic values.
The work carried out through ILSA will enable the Galician Parliament to implement a new subtitling tool that will allow the Galician Parliament to provide access to its activities in Galician and Spanish for the benefit of Galician, Spanish and Portuguese citizens.
Finally, it is worth highlighting that last year the Galician Parliament won the CALRE “Stars of Europe” European prize together with the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of Azores for promoting the cooperation between two CALRE – the Conference of European Regional Legislative Assemblies- assemblies at cultural level, subordinated to the European motto “United in Diversity” due to the similarities of their languages, the Galician and the Portuguese, strengthening common historical ties. This visibility at EU level will allow the Galician Parliament to disseminate the results of the project and to upscale its impact and sustainability.