Spain. The terrorist-stamped Basque separatist movement ETA announced in March a unilateral and permanent ceasefire. ETA had on several occasions previously temporarily ceased its violent actions, but never before talked about putting down its weapons for good. The armed struggle for an independent Basque country had been waged for nearly four decades. The ceasefire message was gently received positively by the Spanish social government. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Spain include Independence Day (October 12) and New Year (January 1). Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero emphasized that a long and complicated peace process was waiting, but that no concessions to the demands for independence were not relevant. In June, Zapatero announced that formal peace talks would begin. The Conservative opposition party PP was critical and opposed all talks with ETA before the group was disarmed and disbanded. In December, the first talks were reported to have been held between the government and the separatists. But just before the New Year, ETA took on the blame for an explosion that occurred at an airport in Madrid and lightly injured 19 people. This led to the government interrupting the peace talks.
A new constitution for Catalonia was approved in June in a referendum in the region, which thereby extended its already extensive self-government. At the same time, the constitution was a significantly watered down version of the proposal adopted by the regional parliament in 2005. writings about Catalonia as a “nation” are faded. Political disagreement over the proposal caused Catalonia’s coalition government to split, leading to new elections in the region in November. The largest party, the nationalist party CiU, strengthened its position somewhat, but the three left parties that were part of the former coalition were given enough mandate to form a new government.
During the year, the Canary Islands became a new target for Africans trying to get to Europe to work. More than 31,000 people, according to Spanish authorities, came to the archipelago, often in small and poorly safe boats. The majority were West Africans, but there were also many Asians among the boat refugees. Many hundreds, perhaps thousands, perished on the road. The authorities saw the storm as a growing humanitarian disaster and appealed to the rest of the EU for help. Spain also signed agreements with Senegal on extended patrol of the coast.
Twenty-nine people were indicted in April, suspected of involvement in the terrorist attack against several commuter trains in Madrid in 2004.
In July, more than 40 people were killed and many were injured when a subway train in Valencia derailed. According to the Accident Investigation Board, the train ran twice as fast as allowed when the accident occurred. The driver was among the dead.
Galicia in northwestern Spain was hit unusually hard by forest fires towards the end of the summer. At least 86,000 ha of forest were destroyed in over 100 fires, many of which were suspected of being planted. Several people died in the flames.
Preliminary agreement on the budget in progress
The Spanish government appears to have secured support for its 2021 budget in parliament, Congress. It is the same three regional parties that enabled the Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez to remain as head of government, that is, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Bildu, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) (see also January 2020). However, the bourgeois Ciudadanos, who have previously said they want to support the budget, have backed out because the ERC and Bildu are among the supporting parties. At the same time, sources in the ERC say that the party is in its own negotiations with the Spanish government that Catalonia should regain economic powers that were stopped by the then Conservative government in 2015.
Spain hopes to launch covid vaccinations in January
The Spanish government presents its plan on how the vaccination against covid-19 will be carried out, and says that almost the entire population will be able to be vaccinated during the first half of 2021. The vaccinations will be done in 13,000 different places in the country. The hope is that they will be able to get started already in January. Healthcare staff, elderly residents, especially those in nursing homes and people belonging to high-risk groups should receive the vaccine first. In other respects, an expert group is appointed to decide which other groups are to be prioritized accordingly. Vaccination will be voluntary. To date, Spain has had 1.5 million confirmed cases of covid-19 and more than 42,000 people have died from the viral disease. The situation in Spain now looks set to improve, following an extensive second wave in the autumn.
Emergency camps for migrants are being built in the Canary Islands
20th of November
Spain will build emergency camps to house 7,000 of the migrants who have now moved to the Canary Islands. At the same time, the Coast Guard’s rescue operations are being stepped up to rescue migrants who end up in emergencies at sea. To meet the plan, around 84 million euros are needed, money that will come from the EU. So far this year, 18,000 migrants have traveled to the Canary Islands in rickety boats. More than 400 migrants have died while on their way to the Canary Islands, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and even more have been rescued at sea.
The Constitutional Court approves controversial legislation
The Constitutional Court approves most of the legislation that is usually called the Mouth Breeding Act. Nine judges vote in favor, two against. Among other things, the law makes it possible for Spanish authorities to immediately reject migrants who have illegally entered the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa. This part of the law, which only applies to Ceuta and Melilla, has been criticized by rights groups who say it deprives migrants of the opportunity to seek political asylum. The Constitutional Court says it is based on a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) from February this year, which ruled that it did not violate the law when Spain in 2014 rejected two migrants who, along with about 70 others, crossed the fence into Melilla. This has happened since Spain appealed a previous court ruling in favor of migrants. The number of migrants trying to enter Spain via the exclaves has halved in 2020 compared with the year before. Instead, more and more migrants to the Canary Islands are safe.
The Canary Islands are pressured by continued migration
About 200 migrants are allowed to leave the camp in the port city of Arguineguin on Gran Canaria. They are put on a bus to Las Palmas, but once there, according to the media, there is nowhere for them to take the road, even though the military is said to have set up a new camp there. The authorities are finding it difficult to house the many new migrants who have moved to the Canary Islands during the year (about 16,700 since the beginning of the year, of which 5,000 in the last two weeks). The intention is that the migrants will only live temporarily in the camp in Arguineguin, among other things, to be tested if they are infected with covid-19. However, rights groups say about 2,000 people have slept in the harbor in recent weeks, many of them in the open air. At the same time, the Red Cross, among others, is trying to lock migrants on to nearby hotels. PSOE politician Angel Victor Torres, leading the regional government of the Canary Islands, calls on the Spanish Government to begin relocating migrants to mainland Spain to show solidarity. Local and regional leaders have previously criticized the Spanish government for not doing anything to help them. It has responded by stepping up deportations and increasing diplomatic efforts to reduce the flow of migrants. The Conservative opposition demands the resignation of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska. It has responded by stepping up deportations and increasing diplomatic efforts to reduce the flow of migrants. The Conservative opposition demands the resignation of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska. It has responded by stepping up deportations and increasing diplomatic efforts to reduce the flow of migrants. The Conservative opposition demands the resignation of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska.
The number of newly infected decreases, but the death rate in covid-19 increases
The Madrid region announces that it will lift the extra severe restrictions in 10 out of 41 health districts from 16 November, when the number of covid-19 infected has decreased to less than 500 per 100,000 inhabitants. At the same time, the region’s deputy head of infection control emphasizes that people should avoid leaving their residential areas as much as possible. Many people outside Madrid are also infected, but the number is lower than before, except in the Basque Country and Castile and Leon. On November 12, 19,511 new cases of covid 19 were reported and 365 people died of the viral disease. On average, about 300 people have died per day in the past week. Just over 16 percent of all hospital beds are now occupied by covid patients and almost 32 percent of all intensive care units. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announces that 10,000 new jobs will be created in the healthcare sector by 2021. At the same time, the Ministry of Health is criticized for lack of cooperation from CTBG, the authority that monitors how well laws on transparency in government work work. This applies both in contacts with the public and with CTBG.
The Canary Islands receive 1,600 migrants over a weekend
The number of African migrants trying to get to the Canary Islands. During the first weekend in November alone, 1,600 people arrive, some manage to get there themselves, others are rescued at sea. Many of the migrants travel in boats that can hardly be seen as seaworthy.
New criminal investigation against ex-king Juan Carlos
A new criminal investigation is being launched against the former king Juan Carlos I after suspicions that he was involved in money laundering. It is a question of whether he used credit cards linked to a bank account belonging to a Mexican company and one belonging to a person in the Spanish defense, and where the money in the accounts comes from. These are transactions that took place after Juan Carlos abdicated from the Spanish throne in 2014.
The Spanish government promises aid money to Air Europe
The Spanish government promises state aid of 475 million euros to the airline Air Europa in order for it to survive the corona crisis. Air Europa, is Spain’s second largest airline, and operates traffic to North and South America, among other places. IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, decided in November 2019 to buy Air Europa, but the deal has not yet been completed.
Protests against coronary restrictions lead to violence
The police grab 30 or so people in the center of Madrid in connection with demonstrations against the country’s new coronavirus restrictions. Shop windows and bank buildings are vandalized, containers with garbage are set on fire and protesters try to set up roadblocks. About a hundred people chant and demand that Prime Minister Sánchez resign. This is the second night in a row that the protests have led to unrest. Similar scenes are set in Barcelona, Bilbao, Logroño, Málaga, Valencia and Santander.