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Yearbook 2005

Spain. At the beginning of the year, the government issued an amnesty for illegal immigrants who had been living in Spain for at least six months and had work. It was justified by the fact that the country needs manpower. According to countryaah, a total of 700,000 paperless persons had been granted a residence permit when the deadline expired in May. It was estimated to correspond to about 90% of black jobs. The Conservative opposition warned that amnesty would lead to increased immigration.

2005 Spain

They got water on their mill when the constant stream of Africans trying to get into the Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco during the fall grew into a mass storm. Thousands of Africans tried at night to get over high barbed wire fences. Several hundred succeeded but at least eleven died in clashes with security forces. S. sent extra soldiers to guard the border and decided to make the fence even higher. Harsh criticism was directed at Moroccan and Spanish authorities for harsh handling of people who just wanted to seek their livelihood in Europe.

Regional separatism continued to pose a challenge to the government. In the Basque country, admittedly, the hardest nationalists suffered a setback when an independence plan approved by the regional parliament was voted down by the Madrid parliament. However, when a regional parliament in Catalonia adopted a similar proposal that the region is a "nation" within Spain, the national parliament approved it in a first vote. However, some amendments were required in order that the proposal would not conflict with the Constitution, and the outcome was unclear at the end of the year. The proposal meant, among other things, that Catalonia would have the right to collect taxes and enact its own laws. A clear majority of Catalans supported it, while opposition was great in the rest of Spain. The socialist minority government's dependence on the support of two Catalan parties contributed to the adoption of the proposal.

Europe's most extensive trial to date against terror suspects ended in Spain in September, when 18 of 24 defendants were sentenced to prison. Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas received 27 years in prison for participating in planning terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. Barakat Yarkas was named as al-Qa'ida's leader in Spain. The other 17 were sentenced to between six and eleven years in prison for contact with terror networks. Several other suspected terrorists were arrested during the year.

In November, the largest trial in Spain's history began when 56 people were brought to trial on suspicion of conspiracy with the terrorist-stamped Basque separatist movement ETA. The trial was a result of several years of investigation and was initiated despite the fact that many considered it likely that peace negotiations with ETA could become relevant shortly.

Spain suffered the worst drought in at least half a century during the summer. Hard-to-control forest fires raged in many places and at one time eleven volunteer firefighters perished in the flames.

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