Spain Country Report
The minority status of the centre-right/conservative Popular Party (Partido Popular: PP) government will keep policy instability high, posing a particular risk to Spain's economic and labour market reforms. The victory of centre-right/neoliberal Citizens (Ciudadanos: Cs) in the December 2017 Catalan regional elections will add pressure on PP-led government. The Catalan regional government's independence referendum, the national government's subsequent suspension of Catalan political autonomy, imprisonment of Catalan politicians, and ongoing difficulties in forming a new regional Catalan government, will keep protest and riot risks high mostly in Catalonia. Corruption scandals involving mostly PP elected officials continue to pose a threat to government stability. In addition, Spainfaces a significant risk of Islamist terrorist attacks carried out by lone actors or small cells.
Spain ranks well overall compared with its regional peers in terms of doing business; however, obtaining licences and permits and getting credit remain problematic. Corruption risks are likely to remain high, particularly during construction tenders. Labour strike risks will remain high, notably in Catalonia related to the Catalan independence issue, as well as due to high level of unemployment and austerity measures nationwide. However, industrial action does not usually cause severe disruption to businesses. Further reforms to increase labour market flexibility are probable under the Popular Party (Partido Popular: PP)-led government, but their implementation will probably be delayed by the lack of broader political support.
The August 2017 vehicle-impact attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, alongside the use of a dedicated site to build explosives, indicate a higher degree of co-ordination and capability among Islamist militants and the presence of a wider jihadist support network, bringing terrorism risks closer to levels in the United Kingdom and France. Urban areas (for example, Madrid and Barcelona) are at particular risk. An attack would most likely be launched by lone actors with low capabilities inspired but not necessarily directed by groups such as the Islamic State, or by small terrorist cells, which are usually better organised. ETA’s disarmament considerably lowered the risk of nationalist/separatist terrorist attacks.
Inter-state war risks will remain low in Spain thanks to the country’s friendly diplomatic and economic relations with most European countries and many other states around the globe. Spain is closely integrated in the European Union, NATO, and other international organisations. Minor occasional diplomatic rifts with the United Kingdom over the sovereignty of Gibraltar, with Morocco over the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and with Portugal over the remote Savage Islands and the Olivenza region are highly unlikely to lead to an armed conflict.
Protests and riots risks are likely to remain high. With Catalonia under central government rule, the independence issue is likely to continue driving both Catalan pro- and anti-independence rallies and strikes, mostly in Catalonia, Madrid, and other major cities. Unionist marches with far-right group presence are likely to turn violent. So far, pro-independence marches have been peaceful, but could become more violent if a solution to the Catalan crisis is not found, which would increase government and policy instability risks. Additionally, despite the country’s economic recovery, unemployment rates remain high, and anti-austerity and anti-corruption demonstrations are likely to occur.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Spain is located in an active seismic zone and earthquakes can impact the country, such as the 5.1-magnitude earthquake that hit Lorca (southeast) on May 12, 2011, leaving a dozen people dead. The Canary Islands (especially El Hierro Island) experience seismic activity as well. One of the most recent earthquakes occurred in January 2016, when a 6.1-magnitude quake was recorded off of the coast of Málaga. The worst hit area was Spain's North African enclave of Melilla, where around 26 people suffered light injuries.
From time to time, Spain also experiences summer forest fires, heavy rains, and flooding. Severe flooding occurred in Costa del Sol in December 2016, resulting in at least one death. Alicante experienced record amounts of rain in March 2017. According to media reports, the region suffered its worst amount of flooding in 20 years after it was hit by half the average annual rainfall in just one day. In June 2017, a forest fire led to the evacuation of at least 1000 people near the town of Moguer and spread to the Donana Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Spain's most important nature reserves.
Public transportation throughout the country is generally reliable and in excellent condition. All major cities have metered taxi services. In Madrid, official taxis have a flat rate of 30 euros between the city center and Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD).
Rail service is reliable but quality and speed varies by region. Public buses are also generally in good condition and inexpensive.
Spain is divided between three climatic zones. The north (Galicia, Cantabria, Basque country) has an oceanic climate characterized by regular rain and mild temperatures throughout the year; summers are usually not very hot. The center of the country (Castile, León, La Mancha, Aragon) experiences a continental climate: winters are cold and dry and summers very hot. Along the Mediterranean coast (from Catalonia to Andalucía), winters are mild and summers are often scorching, particularly in Andalucía. Rain is most common in the country in the spring and autumn months.
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