Original, independent reporting. No ads, no spam.
Understand The News From Spain, In English
Latest Articles
30 Nov 18:03
28 Nov 09:18
27 Nov 09:42
24 Nov 16:50
23 Nov 21:05
23 Nov 11:33
21 Nov 21:02
20 Nov 23:23
19 Nov 23:47
19 Nov 20:50
17 Aug 15:28
2 Minute Spain News
Thespainreport evssl green 623530db5ad6ae6b39c6234b45f5f69736446bf81c1560a160bd1ae45337d9d2

Timely, original, independent reporting and analysis of the most important stories changing Spain, in English. No ads. No spam. As a free member, you can read all updates, leave comments and set your e-mail alerts.

Latest Updates
01 Dec 09:04
Spain Arrests Man In Pamplona For Preparing To Join Islamic State In Syria

The Civil Guard arrested a 32-year old Moroccan man resident in Pamplona early on Tuesday morning "who had begun preparations to travel to Syria with the intention of joining the ranks of DAESH", the Spanish Home Office said in a statement. The man had "aroused the suspicion" of Civil Guard intelligence services after showing "clear signs of radicalisation" such as changing his appearance, changing his friendships and breaking relations with close family members "because of his adhesion to the radical ideological programme". The Home Office said he managed a restaurant where he "intensified his viewing of news and videos related to DAESH" and "used said establishment to spread, among a group of clients he selected, the recordings he downloaded, among which were photos, videos and links to access DAESH publications via social networks". The Civil Guard believes he was actively involved in recruiting people to send to Syria.

30 Nov 23:33
Rajoy's Non-Debate On Telecinco: Catalonia & Job Creation

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, having decided not to attend the debate, was interviewed on Telecinco at the same time as Sánchez, Iglesias and Rivera clashed online at El País. Most Spanish journalists were watching and commenting on the El País debate. He tweeted about his interview later, saying the Popular Party planned to "lower taxes and create stable jobs" and that "I have been very hard on corruption". He also said he had "no interest in applying Article 155" of the Spanish Constitution in Catalonia (the one the Foreign Secretary described as "a political nuclear bomb") but that "all of the options are bad in Catalonia". The Prime Minister also announced a major new economic proposal: for the government to pay the part of social security payments corresponding to the first €500 of a worker's wages if a company gives the worker a permanent contract, or converts a temporary contract into a permanent one. Audience numbers for the interview will be out tomorrow.

30 Nov 23:04
Mud-Slinging & Contempt Precede Final Debate Promises

The level of a generally interesting and stimulating El País debate dropped right off towards the end, with mutual mud-slinging and contempt sloshing around between all three of the candidates, who proceeded to speak over each other in a raucous manner. Pedro Sánchez even read from court documents naming a Podemos council official in a suit brought by the PSOE for beating a socialist councillor up. In their final, minute-long interventions, Albert Rivera promised Spaniards a new electoral law and "a new common project is needed in Spain and that project is called Ciudadanos"; Pablo Iglesias said he wasn't going to ask people to vote for him "because that's old politics"; and Pedro Sánchez said "together, we have passed a lot of laws in this country" and that the a PSOE government was now "more necessary than ever" for Spain.

30 Nov 22:12
Ciudadanos, Podemos & PSOE Split On Solutions For Catalonia
  • Albert Rivera: "It's going to be impossible to convince Artur Mas […] his aim is to break Spain"; "The majority of Catalans have voted for parties who do not want independence"; "Spain needs to be reformed, but not broken";
  • Pablo Iglesias: says the "café para todos" model from the Transition is now worn out, Podemos supports a "pluri-national" model for Spain and that Catalans should be able to vote on their future; "There are many Catalans who feel they haven't been listened to"; says the Scottish solution seemed "very reasonable";
  • Pedro Sánchez: "when the PSOE has been in government, there has not been a single declaration of independence in Catalonia", says PSOE will defend the law and constitutional order and wants to "open a space for dialogue". "We want to vote on a new agreement: a constitutional reform", that would create a "federal Spain"; "We have to recognise we are a member of the European Union"; Spain in 2015, he says, "has nothing to do with the Spain of 1978";
30 Nov 22:02
PSOE & Podemos Want Minimum Incomes, Disagree On How To Pay For It

The candidates have talked about pensions and the welfare state. Pablo Iglesias has attempted to lecture the other two on how they should debate.

  • Pedro Sánchez: says PSOE will have to look for complementary funding for pensions; says Ciudadanos is set on "not introducing new co-payment systems" for healthcare: "which means they'll keep the ones the PP has introduced"; PSOE wants a "minimum vital income";
  • Albert Rivera: a plan for older people to share their experience with young entrepreneurs; accuses Podemos of "moderating retirement age as elections get nearer";
  • Pablo Iglesias: "everyone knows the main problem with pensions system is contributions". Wants to finance "part of pensions with taxes"; repeats Podemos idea of €600 guaranteed income; "we are going to get rid of tax benefits for private pension plans";
30 Nov 21:51
Tension Increases As Rivera, Sánchez & Iglesias Discuss Education

The tension is increasing now, with more interruptions, especially between Albert Rivera and Pedro Sánchez. On education:

  • Pablo Iglesias wants an inclusive education plan, and more special needs education, and says that by "spending a bit better" there is enough money;
  • Pedro Sánchez says the PSOE would triple investment in education: "Rajoy has shown contempt for the education system" and "we have an Education Minister who says there are too many university students". Asks Iglesias where the money is going to come from for the Podemos plan;
  • Albert Rivera says there have been eight education reforms in 30 years. "That deserves calm analysis", he says, even if it takes a whole parliament. He says he is "trying to be more ambitious" than the PSOE. Ciudadanos wants more teachers and more training. "The aim is to have a law like in Finland: regardless of who is in government, no one touches it". He also says education should be more closely linked to the economy;
30 Nov 21:12
Candidates On Islamic State Terrorism And Air Strikes In Syria

The debate begins without Rajoy. The first question is about Islamic State terrorism and Spanish participation in the response. Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos) says he wants a legal decision within the framework of the United Nations: "We have defeated ETA and we can do the same now". He says he would not call a referendum on the issue: "Spaniards vote for us to take decisions and responsibility". Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) says that "clearly France can count on the solidarity of Spanish socialists" and "the doors are open to those parties who want to join" the anti-terror agreement. He wants greater connection with the muslim community in Spain and says any decision depends on the Spanish Congress and the United Nations. Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) says the air strikes in Afghan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria were of no use at all and that the air strikes were counter-productive. He says Podemos would call a referendum on Spanish participation.

30 Nov 21:12
Candidates On Islamic State Terrorism And Air Strikes In Syria

The debate begins without Rajoy. The first question is about Islamic State terrorism and Spanish participation in the response. Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos) says he wants a legal decision within the framework of the United Nations: "We have defeated ETA and we can do the same now". He says he would not call a referendum on the issue: "Spaniards vote for us to take decisions and responsibility". Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) says that "clearly France can count on the solidarity of Spanish socialists" and "the doors are open to those parties who want to join" the anti-terror agreement. He wants greater connection with the muslim community in Spain and says any decision depends on the Spanish Congress and the United Nations. Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) says the air strikes in Afghan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria were of no use at all and that the air strikes were counter-productive. He says Podemos would call a referendum on Spanish participation.

30 Nov 20:59
El País Debate And Rajoy Interview About To Begin

The three-way El País debate (without Rajoy) and the Rajoy's interview with Pedro Piqueras on Telecinco are about to begin. El País says in its pre-debate remarks that this is the first online debate in Spanish election history. The three candidates are ready to go and have been tweeting about how they have been preparing. Only Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera is wearing a tie. Iglesias, true to his style, hasn't bothered with a jacket.

30 Nov 18:22
Where Spain Is Up To In The Polls For The General Election

Let's first catch up on where Spain is with polling for the general election. At the beginning of the year, Podemos had shot to first place by some accounts and Ciudadanos was only just starting to appear on the national scene. By April, before the local and regional elections in May, a tight four-way split was being predicted, a situation that then relaxed somewhat over the summer months. Ciudadanos continued its rise and by the start of October, the first polls had appeared pushing Podemos down into fourth place, where it has remained ever since. A Metroscopia poll published for El País on Saturday night suggested a very tight three-way split for the top between the PP, the PSOE and Ciudadanos on 22%, but most of the others have the PP out in front, on somewhere between 27%-29%, and there are discrepancies over the PSOE or Ciudadanos is in second or third place. No party is forecast to win enough votes for an overall majority (176 seats out of 350 in the Spanish Congress).

30 Nov 09:37
GAD 3 Poll Suggests Ciudadanos Still In Third Place Behind PSOE

A new GAD 3 poll for ABC suggests Albert Rivera's party Ciudadanos is still in third place behind the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). The PP, leading, and Podemos, in fourth, are in line with other polls since the beginning of October. While the poll shows a gain of one percentage point for Ciudadanos since the last round, the party's results are almost six points behind its showing in other polls over the weekend. The Metroscopia poll in El País gave the party 22.6% and Sigma Dos in El Mundo gave them 23.0%.

Party Vote %
PP 28.3%
PSOE 23.1%
Ciudadanos 17.4%
Podemos 14.9%
United Left (IU) 4.0%
30 Nov 00:12
Sigma Dos Poll Shows Ciudadanos Three Points Clear Of PSOE, Four Behind PP

A new Sigma Dos poll for El Mundo confirms second place for Ciudadanos, now extending its lead over the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) to three points. Albert Rivera's party is within four points of Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party (PP), steady around 27% in line with the latest poll-of-polls average. Podemos remains in fourth place, where it has been in most polls since the beginning of October.

Party Vote % Seats
PP 27.1% 111-115
Ciudadanos 23.0% 82-84
PSOE 20.2% 78-79
Podemos 16.2% 43-45
United Left (IU) 3.8% 3-5
29 Nov 00:48
Metroscopia Poll Shows Dead Heat Three-Way Split For Spanish General Election

The lates Metroscopia poll for El País shows a three-way split for Spain's general election on December 20, with all three leading parties—the Popular Party (PP), Ciudadanos and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE)—within a hair's breadth of each other on 22% of the estimated share of the vote, well within the margin of error. Podemos lags five points behind on 17%, in fourth place. The paper's editorial on Sunday describes the situation as "very indecisive".

Party Vote %
PP 22.7%
Ciudadanos 22.6%
PSOE 22.5%
Podemos 17.2%
United Left (IU) 5.2%
23 Nov 17:52
Islamic State Video Demands France Withdraw From Syria "Like Spain From Iraq"

In a new video, the Islamic State has demanded French people pressure their government to withdraw from the war in Syria if they do not want to suffer any further terror attacks. "Know that this is not the last operation", says the bearded spokesman, named as Abu Tayssir El Faransi, who speaks in French: "it's not our last meeting…unless…unless you pressure your government as the Spanish people did several years ago against the war in Iraq". In March 2004, a series of bombs on trains in Madrid exploded on the morning of March 11. Three days later, on March 14, Spain held its general election and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) won, contrary to expectations prior to the attacks. The new Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, keeping to his electoral promise, ordered the withdrawal of Spanish forces from Iraq a little over one month later, on April 19, 2004.

20 Nov 11:11
Government Denies Reports Spanish Army To Take Over From France In Mali

The Spanish government issued a statement on Friday morning denying the Spanish Army was set to take over from the French Army in Mali. The government said it: "strongly denies any unilateral offer has been made to France about modifying the military presence following the Paris attacks" and that "for now, neither France nor the international coalition against DAESH has asked our country for any increase in our contribution. El País reported on Thursday night that Mr. Rajoy was ready to order a Spanish relief of French troops in Mali and that the Spanish Defence Ministry was already drawing up plans "to send more troops to different African countries", only awaiting "a specific request from Paris". Mr. Rajoy and several of his ministers, including the Home Secretary and Defence Minister, have avoided questions about any direct Spanish involvement alongside France against the Islamic State following the attacks in Paris last week. Spain's general election will take place on December 20.

19 Nov 21:53
Sigma Dos Poll Shows Ciudadanos Second Behind PP

A Sigma Dos poll for Telecinco published on Thursday evening shows Ciudadanos overtaking the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) in percentage of the estimated vote, behind the Popular Party in first place on 27.3%. Both the PSOE and Ciudadanos are five points clear of Podemos in fourth place. No party has an overall majority (176 seats), but PP-Ciudadanos, PP-PSOE or Ciudadanos-PSOE-Podemos coalitions would be possible with the poll's estimates.

Party Vote % Seats
PP 27.3% 112-115
Ciudadanos 21.4% 73-75
PSOE 20.3% 77-79
Podemos 15.7% 42-44
17 Nov 18:17
Spanish Defence Minister Dodges Questions On Supporting France In Syria

Defence Minister Pedro Morenés avoided direct answers to questions in Brussels on Tuesday about the level of Spanish support for France following the attacks in Paris last Friday. Mr. Morenés told one reporter he was in "permanent contact" with his French counterpart, Mr. Drian, but told another they had not spoken about action in Syria. "We are committed to what has been asked of us", he said: "bilateral, bilateral and, er, bilateral", listing areas where France and Spain already cooperated. "Don't ask me things that belong to conversations that have to take place". "I prefer not to talk about hypotheses. I repeat: instead of thinking about what we have to do, think […] more about what Spain has been doing without any petition of any kind". "Don't ask me about what I rule out or don't rule out. Ask me about what we are doing". He said assistance "has not been requested yet" by France. Reminded that Mr. Drian had said "the sooner the better", Mr. Morenés replied: "He has my number".

13 Nov 12:53

The Spanish Association of Newspaper Publishers (AEDE), an umbrella organisation for Spain's main print titles, issued a statement on Thursday defending the Spanish media industry and freedom of the press in the country against the "accusations" of the New York Times, labelling The Times's version "a caricature of reality". AEDE said Spain is "characterised by media plurality, [a country] in which new media outlets with different editorial lines are continually being created" and that Spanish dailies had uncovered "numerous" stories about political and business corruption. "The article does not describe reality", publishers said, and was "unfortunate and full of unbalanced conventionalisms". AEDE claimed 17 million "faithful readers" of Spanish print titles. The latest General Market Study (EGM) data show 11.5 million readers for Spain's print titles. El País is the leading Spanish print title, with 1.5 million readers, behind sports paper Marca with 2.3 million readers.

12 Nov 10:41

A new Celeste-Tel general election poll for El Diario shows Podemos falling to 10% of the vote and Ciudadanos closing on the Popular Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) in terms of estimated percentage of the vote. No party is close to an overall majority (176 out of 350 seats in Congress). The numbers would allow for an establishment coalition between the PP and the PSOE or a conservative coalition between the PP and Ciudadanos, but not a two-way left-wing coalition with PSOE and Podemos or a three-way one between the PSOE, Podemos and United Left.

Party Vote % Seats
PP 26.4% 118-122
PSOE 24.0% 102-104
Ciudadanos 21.1% 58-62
Podemos 10.8% 26-30
United Left (IU) 4.2% 4-5
10 Nov 15:01

As had been expected, Spain's State Council issued a report on Tuesday unanimously agreeing with the government's plan to present a legal challenge to the separatist declaration approved by the Catalan parliament on Monday. Europa Press said the report had found "sufficient legal basis" for the challenge before the Constitutional Court to go ahead. The council, which offers legal advice to the Spanish government, met on Tuesday morning to discuss the matter. El País reported the council also believed the Catalan parliament had awarded itself powers not granted to it by the Spanish Constitution. The council's report will now be used to prepare an extraordinary cabinet meeting that will likely be held on Wednesday, at which ministers will approve the government's challenge before the Constitutional Court, which is expected to accept the challenge on Thursday and order the immediate suspension of the Catalan declaration.

09 Nov 11:08

Senior public prosecutors in Spain are studying charges of seditious conspiracy for pro-independence politicians in Catalonia, El Español reported, citing sources in the Public Prosecutor's Office. "The most serious course of action under analysis is the criminal [option]", the news site said and, while a decision has not been taken: "experts in the Public Prosecutor's Office believe charges of seditious conspiracy could be brought against the leaders and promoters of the secessionist motion". The crime of sedition in the Spanish Criminal Code is specified for those who "rise up in a tumultuous manner to prevent, by force or outside of legal channels, the application of laws or [to prevent] any authority, official body or civil servant from legitimately carrying out their tasks and the fulfilment of their agreements, or of judicial or administrative decisions". "Authority figures" who encourage sedition can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

09 Nov 10:42

The Spanish government is ready to take control of the regional Catalan police force, the Mossos, and to cut financial aid to the region, the former editor of El Mundo, Casimiro García Abadillo, reported on Monday morning in the online version of the Spanish daily, writing that "Spain is facing the biggest political challenge in recent history". The paper cites a Home Office report saying there are only 300 pro-independence Mossos, out of a total force size of 17,000. Control of the Mossos would pass directly to Madrid. Cutting regional bailout financing would leave Catalonia on the brink of default and "there would be problems with the payment of civil servants' wages". The Attorney General's and Public Prosecutor's offices are also working on criminal charges against Carme Forcadell and Artur Mas, El Mundo said. The government intends to hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday and believes the Constitutional Court will rule on Thursday to suspend today's Catalan motion.

09 Nov 10:15

The Catalan parliament began debating a "solemn" declaration of rupture from Spain and the beginning of the creation of "an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic" at 10 a.m. Monday morning, after Spain's Constitutional Court, which the regional parliament is expected to vote to disobey, allowed the debate to go ahead in a ruling published on Thursday, saying it was "aware of the risk" the debate and vote entailed but that it would not suspend the motion before it was seen in parliament. Mariano Rajoy's government said it was ready to begin responding "immediately" to the secessionist challenge in Catalonia, and the Prime Minister is set to make a statement later from Béjar (Castilla y León). A second debate, a vote of confidence in Artur Mas as the proposed candidate for First Minister, will take place on Monday evening.

06 Nov 18:15

The Spanish Foreign Office changed its advice for Spaniards travelling to Egypt on Friday, removing Sharm El Sheikh and Egypt's Red Sea from its list of safe destinations. It now only considers Luxor and Aswan suitable for Spanish tourists, but even then with "medium risk". Spain considers no areas of Egypt to be totally safe. The previous advice, issued on June 24, had also included the "spa area of Sharm El Sheikh" and "the Red Sea tourist centres on the continental African coast" as medium-risk locations, "as long as access [to Sharm] was via its International Airport". The new Foreign Office advice issued on Friday, November 6, removed Sharm El Sheikh and the Red Sea destinations from that already short list. Even in Luxor and Aswan, Spain advises taking "extreme precautions", adding that any travel in North Sinai is "extremely dangerous".

06 Nov 13:41

The Spanish government announced during its weekly post-cabinet press conference on Friday that it had relieved four-star Air Force general José Julio Rodriguez of his post in a senior Royal Order. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said the government believed there had been a "loss of confidence" in General Rodriguez and that he had failed to fulfil "his duty to maintain political neutrality", even as a member of the reserve. General Rodriguez was Chief of the Spanish Defence Staff under Mr. Zapatero from 2008 to 2011, and was until Friday a spokesman for the Royal & Military Order of Saint Hermenegildo, made up only of officers with the rank of general and former Chiefs of the Spanish Defence Staff, Army, Navy or Air Force. The Order acts as a military advisory body to the Spanish Crown and Ministry of Defence. On Wednesday, Podemos announced General Rodriguez would stand as a senior candidate to become an MP for Pablo Iglesias's party at the upcoming general election.

03 Nov 08:30

The Spanish Home Office said in a brief statement that police intelligence services had arrested three Moroccans resident in Spain in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The three are "accused of forming part of an organisation linked to Daesh (Islamic State)" and were "ready to carry out terrorist acts like those committed in nearby countries at any time".

02 Nov 17:44

A new GAD 3 poll for Spanish daily ABC indicates a win for the Popular Party (PP) at the general election, with nearly 28% of the vote, but far short of an overall majority, with just 128 seats out of the 176 needed in the 350-seat Congress. In the article accompanying the poll, ABC notes that "no party had ever before won a general election with less than 30% of the vote". A Metroscopia poll for El País on Sunday suggested the PP could end up with fewer than 100 seats. The poll numbers today suggest a PP–Ciudadanos coalition would be possible with Albert Rivera's 55 seats. In line with almost all of the polls published since the beginning of October, Podemos is in fourth place.

Party Vote % Seats
PP 27.8% 128
PSOE 22.1% 88
Ciudadanos 17.5% 55
Podemos 13.9% 37
02 Nov 11:19

There is a "fully-fledged uprising" in Catalonia that must be "suffocated", Spain's Foreign Secretary, José Manuel García Margallo, said during an interview with Antena 3 on Monday morning, adding that "every time there is a crisis" in Spanish history: "we see these tensions", referring to similar episodes in 1640, 1714, 1931 and 1934. "it's not time for seduction", said Mr. Margallo: "what we now have underway is a fully-fledged uprising, made more serious by two problems: firstly, that it is being directed by an institution of state, not by a political force, […] and secondly that splitting Catalan society in two has not bothered them at all, or in setting that part of Catalan society, to whom they have promised a paradise lost, against the rest of Spanish society. When one encounters an uprising with these characteristics, the uprising [must be] suffocated.

02 Nov 09:34

Markit's Purchase Managers' Index for Spain's manufacturing sector recorded a score of 51.3 in October, 0.4 points lower than the score in September. "Although output rose for the twenty-third successive month", said Markit in its press release, "the rate of expansion was the weakest in this sequence amid signs of softer client demand". Senior Markit economist Andrew Harker said: “It’s looking like a low key end to the year for the Spanish manufacturing sector as growth rates for output, new orders and employment have all slowed to a crawl in recent months. The forthcoming election is likely resulting in some caution among firms and clients alike as they wait to see the outcome of the December vote". Export growth "accelerated", though, and new business from abroad was "the sharpest since June".

01 Nov 12:10

November's Metroscopia poll for El País shows a continuing rise for Albert Rivera's Ciudadanos, all the way up into second place, past Pedro Sánchez's Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which has fallen 3.5 points since September, and to within a hair's breadth, statistically speaking, of Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party (PP), flatlined around 23%. The poll suggests the possibility of fewer than 100 seats for the Prime Minister's party. All three leading parties are within the poll's margin of error (± 2.7%). The poll also shows a significant recovery (+2.9%) for Pablo Iglesias and Podemos. after months of decline, and a steady rise since the summer for Alberto Garzón and United Left. Albert Rivera is still by far the most popular leader; Pablo Iglesias and Mariano Rajoy the most disliked.

Party Vote % Seats
PP 23.5% 93-100
Ciudadanos 22.5% 72-84
PSOE 21.0% 88-98
Podemos 17.0% 42-46
United Left (IU) 6.3% 5
Copyright © 2015 · The Spain Report Ltd. · Understand The News From Spain, In English