EDITORIAL
Editorials
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The prestige of the crown

The monarchy needs to regularize its institutional role, whatever happens in the Nóos case

With every new judicial step taken in the Nóos case, the impression grows that the alleged crimes of corruption, tax evasion and others under investigation may involve persons at the service of the king’s family. This is the feeling produced by the judicial summons to Carlos García Revenga, secretary to the king’s daughters, who over 19 months combined this job with functions in the Nóos Institute. And though greater speed would be desirable in the handling of an investigation that public opinion is following with passionate interest, it must be said that the pace of the justice system squares poorly with those expectations — slowness is an evil endemic in the Spanish courts, and not something applied only in special cases such as that of Iñaki Urdangarin, the king’s son-in-law.

Now questions have to be asked of García Revenga about his job, the matters he concerned himself with at Nóos, and his relation with the companies for which the supposedly non-profit company served as a front, as well as the advisory service he may have supplied to Urdangarin and to his professional or personal circle; and this is what the judge is about to do.

It must be admitted that all the due procedural steps are being taken, and that none of them need point, a priori, to a judgment of guilt or innocence. The son-in-law of the head of state, and those around him, are all subject to the courts, and these must decide on the criminal and civil liabilities stemming from the conduct under investigation in the Nóos case.

However, the Urdangarin case does pose a real danger to the prestige of the crown, as the opinion surveys show. At the time, the implication of the monarch’s son-in-law in various crimes brought a swift reaction from the Royal Household, excluding Urdangarin from occasions of official protocol and, in a speech by King Juan Carlos, an explicit reminder that all citizens are equal before the law. Urdangarin has also been removed from the Royal Household’s webpage. More steps need to be taken toward the institutional regularization of the palace, particularly in the area of economic transparency. A clear-cut separation between the public functions of the persons in it and any other activities or private businesses they may have would have prevented the confusion that now surrounds the princesses’ secretary.

Institutionalization also demands that attention be given to the heir to the throne, who yesterday turned 45, and whose contribution is important to the crown’s reputation. Don Felipe de Borbón, who still has no statute of his own, works a great deal, but with a small team, perhaps too small for a person who performs functions of representation and is preparing to play an essential role in the institutional stability and balance of a country affected by strong political and secessionist tensions. Nobody would now invent the monarchy, but undoubtedly its existence has done important service.

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