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, Madrid is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Spain. 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.
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.
Agreement on Gibraltar ready
Gibraltar will be part of the EU’s passport union Schengen, according to a preliminary agreement between Great Britain and Spain. The aim is to facilitate mobility between Gibraltar and Spain and avoid new passport controls. The agreement will apply until the UK and the EU have reached a more comprehensive agreement on this. The agreement reached between the United Kingdom and the EU on Christmas Eve does not cover Gibraltar.
Spain must register vaccine refusers
Vaccination against covid-19 will not be mandatory in Spain, but Spanish authorities will set up a register of people who refuse to do so. However, the register will not be public. The vaccinations began in Spain on December 27 and the government hopes that between 15 and 20 million inhabitants will be able to be vaccinated by June. According to opinion polls, the number of Spaniards who say they do not intend to be vaccinated has fallen from 47 percent in November to 28 percent now. Despite strict restrictions, including a nocturnal curfew, the country still has high infection rates. Over 24,000 new cases of covid-19 were registered in Spain on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, it was reported that a total of 50,000 people have so far died of the viral disease in Spain.
New school law adopted
The Senate approves new legislation where the requirement for Spanish to be the main language of instruction in the country’s schools is abolished. It is a concession to the ERC in exchange for the Catalan Left Party supporting the coalition government’s budget. In practice, most students in schools in Catalonia are already taught in Catalan. The change in the law is part of a more comprehensive legislation which means that religious education will not have the same weight as before and that state support for certain Catholic schools, called concertada, will be reduced. More will also be done to provide more students from low-income families with a place in concertada schools. Right-wing parties such as PP and Vox have opposed the change in the law, which they say is sectarian.
The Senate approves the state budget
The Spanish Senate approves the government’s budget for the coming years. This is the first time since 2018 that a budget has been approved by the Spanish Parliament (see also 3 December 2020). A sensitive issue for the government is that in order to get the budget approved, it needs support from the Basque left and separatist alliance Bildu, something that is controversial for the right but also within the ruling Socialist Party.
Congress votes to introduce euthanasia
The lower house of the Spanish Parliament, the Congress, is voting after a long debate to allow euthanasia in Spain. The legislation on the right to a dignified death is approved by 198 members and 138 members vote no. In the next step, the Senate will vote on the bill. According to the bill, people suffering from a serious and incurable disease should be able to request help to end their lives.
Prosecution for corona-related deaths
Spanish prosecutors are prosecuting the owner and a doctor at a nursing home in Madrid for a corona-related death, as an 80-year-old woman who recently moved there did not receive the medical supervision she needed. They thus did not follow the rules set by the region during the ongoing pandemic. It is the first indictment of its kind in the region. At the same time, there are data that indicate that every tenth Spaniard was infected with the new coronavirus during the year, of which more than half during the so-called second wave during the autumn.
EX-king submits tax return
Former Spanish King Juan Carlos I has submitted a voluntary tax return to the tax authorities. This is part of the criminal investigation against the former king that began in November (see November 2020).
Every third Spaniard will receive a covid vaccine by June
Spain plans to vaccinate a third of the country’s residents by June, says Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. The idea is that the first vaccinations will begin in January and that 2.5 million people will be vaccinated over two months. It is primarily about people in nursing homes and those who care for them. It is not clear which groups will be prioritized accordingly, but the government says it has listed 15 different groups that it is particularly important to vaccinate. Spain will receive around 105 million vaccine doses, most of the vaccines require two doses to be effective.
HD says no to freer conditions for convicted separatist leaders
The Supreme Court rules that the facilities in prison made for the nine Catalan separatist leaders convicted in the autumn of 2019 for their involvement in the referendum on independence in Catalonia held in 2017, despite court decisions (see October 2019). Since July, the Catalan government has, among other things, allowed prisoners to return home over the weekends, citing the assessment that they do not pose a major risk and are believed to have been detained for political reasons. According to the Supreme Court, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Catalonia, Oriol Junqueras, has not been imprisoned for his ideology but for being convicted of incitement and misuse of public funds. Pere Aragonès, acting prime minister of Catalonia, calls the decision “an insult to all Democrats”.
Congress approves state budget
The Spanish minority government now succeeds in getting the state budget for 2021 approved in the lower house of parliament through agreements with several smaller parties (see November 2020. 188 members vote for the budget and 154 vote against. The next step is a Senate approval that votes on the budget at the end of After failing to persuade Parliament to approve its budgets, first the Socialist Party-led government and the current governing coalition have had to follow the budget adopted under the Conservative PP’s government in 2018. The new budget contains major social initiatives to overcome the consequences of December. the ongoing corona crisis.
Great decline for tourism in Spain
The number of foreign tourists visiting Spain has fallen sharply, 76 percent, during the first ten months of the year, compared with the same period the year before, according to the statistics agency Ine. During the period, tourists spent almost 19 billion euros, compared to almost 82 billion euros in 2019.