Country Reports

Spain Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the minority centre-left Socialist Workers’ Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español: PSOE) called early elections for 28 April after he repeatedly failed to get parliamentary approval for his 2019 budget proposal. The PSOE holds only 84 of 350 seats in the lower chamber of parliament and depends on support on a "confidence and supply’ basis from a group of seven other smaller parties, including Catalan and Basque regional groupings. Current opinion polling indicates that although the PSOE are most likely to emerge from the election as the single biggest party, the right of centre Partido Popular (PP) and Ciudadanos will together probably outnumber them. However, whether the election results in a right- or left-of-centre government, either will be a delicate coalition of forces, indicating ongoing government instability and major blockages to implementing policy. If the emergent right-wing nationalist party VOX performs well in the election, it is likely to be influential, especially on immigration and in its strong opposition to Catalan autonomy. We expect Spain’s economic recovery to soften during 2019, with real GDP growth forecast at 1.7% in 2019, down from 2.5% y/y. Given the national government’s attempts to reassure the EU that it will continue to meet fiscal deficit targets, increased spending on Catalan (and other) autonomous regions relies on ambitious objectives to increase tax revenues in the 12-month outlook, which would be negatively affected by any further softening in GDP growth. The ongoing Catalan independence conflict will keep protest and riot risks high mostly in Catalonia. In addition, the emergence of VOX also indicates a new protest risk around their activities by opponents. Spain faces an ongoing elevated risk of Islamist terrorist attacks conducted by lone actors or small cells.
Last update: March 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

Spain ranks well overall compared with its regional peers in terms of doing business. However, obtaining licences, permits, and credit remains problematic. Corruption risks are likely to remain elevated, particularly during construction tenders. Labour strike risks will remain elevated nationally because of high unemployment and austerity measures, and will be even higher in Catalonia because of the independence issue, as evidenced by the public sector workers’ strike in Catalonia on 29 November 2018. However, industrial action does not usually cause severe disruption to businesses. Attempts to increase labour market flexibility are likely to stagnate under the centre-left PSOE government.

Last update: December 28, 2018



The August 2017 vehicle-impact attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, including the use of a dedicated site to assemble explosives, indicate a significant degree of co-ordination and capability among Islamist militants and a wider jihadist support network. Urban areas (e.g., 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 disbandment in May 2018 makes the threat of nationalist/separatist terrorist attacks extremely low.

Last update: December 28, 2018

War Risks

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. Diplomatic rifts with the United Kingdom over the sovereignty of Gibraltar during ongoing Brexit negotiations, minor occasional disagreements with Morocco over the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and disputes with Portugal over the remote Savage Islands and the Olivenza region are highly unlikely to lead to armed conflict.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Social Stability


Catalan independence-related issues – such as the trial against Catalan political leaders in early 2019 – are likely to prompt disruptive protests mainly in Catalonia. Unionist marches with far-right group presence are likely to turn violent, although fatalities are unlikely. The rise of far-right political party VOX in the December 2018 Andalusian regional elections sparked violent protests by radical anti-fascist groups in Andalusia and Catalonia. Single issues are also likely to drive unrest as exemplified by the several gender equality-related protests, likely to continue in 2019, protests by pensioners, and anti-austerity-related strikes and protests.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

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).

Other Vaccinations

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019



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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


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.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +34
Police: 112


Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019