Spain Country Report
The minority status of the centre-left Socialist Workers Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español: PSOE) government that assumed power on 1 June 2018 will keep policy instability high, as already evidenced by parliament's rejection of the PSOE's 2019 budget. With only 84 of 350 seats in the lower chamber of parliament and a similar minority in the upper chamber, the PSOE will depend on co-operation from a collection of smaller parties, including Podemos and Catalan and Basque regional forces. The ongoing Catalan independence conflict will keep protest and riot risks high mostly in Catalonia, although the PSOE is more likely to engage in dialogue than its predecessor. In addition, Spain faces a risk of Islamist terrorist attacks conducted by lone actors or small cells.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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