Spain’s Constitutional Court has annulled the two states of emergency declared by Pedro Sánchez’s government in relation to corona fines before and after the summer of 2020.
This means a political and legal setback for the governing parties PSOE and Unidas Podemos. And also a financial one.
The Spanish government tried to enforce these states of emergency by applying an element of coercion. However, they were later declared unconstitutional. Furthermore, fines of between €600 and €30,000 were imposed for those who violated the restrictions. For example, being out during curfew, travelling, holding parties or meetings with more people than permitted.
1.4 million fines
Although the officials in charge of imposing these sanctions were quite sympathetic towards the citizens, almost 1.4 million fines were imposed during the 11 months of the two alarms. The vast majority of these, up to 84% of the total, were imposed during the most severe state of emergency. This was during the of spring 2020, between 14 March and 21 June of that year. In those three months, 1,142,127 penalties were imposed with the corresponding fines the vast majority for the minimum amount, €600. This was the period with the strictest restrictions; a situation that had not been seen before in society. During the first and worst state of emergency, fines of €1.15 billion were imposed. This did not include the fines in the Basque Country and Catalonia, which have their own system for managing them.
Second state of emergency
The second state of emergency was declared in the autumn. This was when a new wave of infections began after the easing of measures during the summer and Christmas periods. This lasted twice as long as the first, from 25 October 2020 to 9 May 2021. However, far fewer fines were handed out: 220,296 across Spain. The data on these sanctions and the fines associated with them is difficult to specify, as most of them have not even been processed. According to data from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, at the end of the second alert, of the nearly 1.4 million fines issued since the start of the pandemic, just over 150,000 had been processed. The average fine was €732.
Almost 90% of those fined remained in limbo until the Constitutional Court shortly after annulled both alarms in judgments issued in July and October last year respectively. And since the fines were imposed under this legal framework, this declaration automatically led to the annulment of all fines that had not been settled and the restitution of the fines that citizens had already paid. Thus, the Official Gazette publishes almost daily about large numbers of these sanctions imposed by the government and annulled by the Constitutional Court.
Also read: State of alert fines annulled