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AELI focusses on unfair competition in difficult Spanish market circumstances

Governing Board Dr. J. Oliver-Rodés

Madrid, 15th October 2012

Dear UILI colleagues,

As you know the economic situation in Spain is still difficult, with negative perspectives for the coming year. To put it in an easy way, what is happening after more than four years of private debt crisis, is that companies still can’t access bank financing, public spending is decreasing fast and all commercial activity and new projects are much reduced due to lack of funding .

The amount of money needed to assure the banking system's stability after their mishandling of private investments in the real state sector, has resulted in a fast increase on public deficit, the closure of financial markets for the Spanish Government and companies and, finally a sharp decrease on Government investments and public spending.

This situation obviously comes with a significant increase in the tax burden to businesses and people, all of them already very much concerned by reduced income.

As a result, all the activity is affected, and the unemployment rate is at its highest.

The only signs for a future recovery would be an agreement to reschedule the payment of the private debt, with the help of the EU, and the consolidation of public spending reforms that should target zero deficit on a longer term (not within 2 years); the result of sharp decrease in public spending has shown it has not a positive result. The only good trends are the gain of competitiveness of the Spanish companies, gained through salary decreases, that is helping boost the exports from manufacturers, and the record high number of tourists that kept this important industry (10 % of GDP) active during this year.

AELI through the Competence Commission has intensified the lines of action being developed and claiming for the free market competition against protectionism and strengthening of "Public Companies" deficient in many cases and who are unnecessary funded by the State.

In this regard, we are working on two major research studies that make very clear what is the real depth of this situation in two specific activities:

Where we are studying around one hundred public laboratories, but we don’t have the final results yet.

We studied eight Technology Centers of the 45 members of the Spanish Federation of Technology Centers, which bring together the most important nationwide:


  1. All TC’s studied perform analytical services for private individuals or companies.
  2. Only five TC’s economic performance studied show publicly.
  3. Only 3 TC’s separates economic activities based on private or public revenue.
  4. All the TC’s subsidized public agencies or their respective regions.
  5. The staff found in most TC’s studied-five of the eight- falls within the scope of the university administration or policy, that is, what we have called Other Agencies, not knowing the situation of the rest.
  6. All the Centers are using personnel Fellow.
  7. In the case of three TC’s, the location is on public land (public ownership Technology Parks, Universities, etc..,) besides in 2 of the 8 TC’s status is unknown.

Key Findings

While the provision of service of analysis to private clients is scheduled under 14/2011 Law, the fact remains that this is coupled with a clear limitation on the turnover and in the rotation of the companies to bill in three-year periods , of which there is currently no evidence.

The economic results of the TC’s must be publicly accessible in all cases and should be subject to inspection by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
All the Technology Centers receive public subsidies.

The conclusions from the data of our study show doubts about that all the economic contribution that goes to the TC’s is solely and exclusively dedicated to research and innovation, which seeks to explore the control of the proper use of an important piece from the 8,500 million euros allocated to innovation and research in Spain.

Therefore AELI urges the Administration to run as soon as possible the separation of the economic results of the research activities and economic activities of the TC’s, required by law (Law 14/2011) and further supported by European Union (EU FRAMEWORK FOR STATE AID FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION (2006 / C 323/01). Official Journal of the European Union, 30.12.2006.)

In parallel, this year, we have maintained, several meetings at the highest level due to the entry of the new government in the Spanish Administration to implement the recommendations of the National Competence Commission referring to the only normalizing entity in Spain:

In July of 2012 the National Competence Commission, the government agency which ensures free competition in Spain, issued a "REPORT ON THE CERTIFICATION OF QUALITY AND SAFETY" which recommends Public Administrations to introduce the legislative necessary regulatory changes allowing inter alias:

"To separate legal, accounting and functional activities of standardization and certification of the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification (AENOR)

Other activities undertaken this year by AELI have been to promote technical training, participation in various meetings with different authorities, including the National Accreditation Entity-ENAC, or collaboration in organizing this Symposium here Lisbon.

The President of the “Asociación Española de Laboratorios Independientes”
Jorge Oliver-Rodés Sen