Europe :: Spain

Introduction ::Spain

    Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. More recently the government has had to focus on measures to reverse a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008. Austerity measures implemented to reduce a large budget deficit and reassure foreign investors have led to one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe.

Geography ::Spain

    Southwestern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, and Pyrenees Mountains; southwest of France
    40 00 N, 4 00 W
    total: 505,370 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 52
    land: 498,980 sq km
    water: 6,390 sq km
    note: there are two autonomous cities - Ceuta and Melilla - and 17 autonomous communities including Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco - Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera
    slightly more than twice the size of Oregon
    total: 1,917.8 km
    border countries: Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km
    4,964 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
    temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast
    large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees Mountains in north
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m
    coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
    arable land: 24.75%
    permanent crops: 9.29%
    other: 65.96% (2011)
    34,700 sq km (2011)
    111.5 cu km (2011)
    total: 32.46 cu km/yr (18%/22%/61%)
    per capita: 698.7 cu m/yr (2008)
    periodic droughts, occasional flooding
    volcanism: volcanic activity in the Canary Islands, located off Africa's northwest coast; Teide (elev. 3,715 m) has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; La Palma (elev. 2,426 m), which last erupted in 1971, is the most active of the Canary Islands volcanoes; Lanzarote is the only other historically active volcano
    pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from raw sewage and effluents from the offshore production of oil and gas; water quality and quantity nationwide; air pollution; deforestation; desertification
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
    strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar; Spain controls a number of territories in northern Morocco including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas

People and Society ::Spain

Government ::Spain

    conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
    conventional short form: Spain
    local long form: Reino de Espana
    local short form: Espana
    parliamentary monarchy
    name: Madrid
    geographic coordinates: 40 24 N, 3 41 W
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    note: Spain is divided into two time zones including the Canary Islands
    17 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, singular - comunidad autonoma) and 2 autonomous cities* (ciudades autonomas, singular - ciudad autonoma); Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, Baleares (Balearic Islands), Ceuta*, Canarias (Canary Islands), Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Cataluna (Catalonia), Comunidad Valenciana (Valencian Community), Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla*, Murcia, Navarra, Pais Vasco (Basque Country)
    note: the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla plus three small islands of Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera, administered directly by the Spanish central government, are all along the coast of Morocco and are collectively referred to as Places of Sovereignty (Plazas de Soberania)
    1492; the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain
    National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas
    approved by legislature 31 October 1978; passed by referendum 6 December 1978; signed by the king 27 December 1978
    civil law system with regional variations
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince FELIPE, son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968
    head of government: President of the Government (Prime Minister equivalent) Mariano RAJOY (since 20 December 2011); Vice President (and Minister of the President's Office) Soraya Saenz de SANTAMARIA (since 22 December 2011)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    note: there is also a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government, but its recommendations are non-binding
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually proposed president by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly; election last held on 20 November 2011 (next to be held in November 2015); vice president and Council of Ministers are appointed by the president
    election results: Mariano RAJOY elected President of the Government; percent of vote - 44.62%
    bicameral; General Courts or Las Cortes Generales (National Assembly) consists of the Senate or Senado (257 seats as of 2013; 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 49 - as of 2013 - appointed by the regional legislatures; members to serve four-year terms) and the Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; each of the 50 electoral provinces fills a minimum of two seats and the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla fill one seat each with members serving a four-year term; the other 248 members are determined by proportional representation based on popular vote on block lists who serve four-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 20 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2015); Congress of Deputies - last held on 20 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2015)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PP 136, PSOE 48, CiU 9, Entesa (PSC-PSOE) 7, EAJ/PNV 4, other 4, members appointed by regional legislatures 49; Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PP 44.6%, PSOE 28.8%, CiU 4.2%, IU 6.9%, Amaiur 1.4%, UPyD 4.7%, EAJ/PNV 1.3%, other 8.1%; seats by party - PP 186, PSOE 110, CiU 16, IU 11, Amaiur 7, UPyD 5, EAJ/PNV 5, other 10
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo (consists of the court president and organized into the Civil Room with a president and 9 magistrates, the Penal Room with a president and 14 magistrates, the Administrative Room with a president and 32 magistrates, the Social Room with a president and 12 magistrates, and the Military Room with a president and 7 magistrates); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional de Espana (consists of 12 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates proposed by the General Council of the Judicial Power, a 20-member body chaired by the monarch and includes presidential appointees, and lawyers and jurists elected by the National Assembly; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the monarch for 9-year terms
    subordinate courts: National Court; High Courts of Justice (in each of the autonomous communities); provincial courts; courts of first instance
    Amaiur [collective leadership] (a coalition of parties advocating the peaceful Basque independence from Spain)
    Basque Nationalist Party or PNV or EAJ [Inigo URKULLU Renteria]
    Canarian Coalition or CC [Claudina MORALES Rodriquez] (a coalition of five parties)
    Convergence and Union or CiU [Artur MAS i Gavarro] (a coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia or CDC [Artur MAS i Gavarro] and the Democratic Union of Catalonia or UDC [Josep Antoni DURAN i LLEIDA])
    Entesa Catalonia de Progress (a Senate coalition grouping four Catalan parties - PSC, ERC, ICV, EUA)
    Galician Nationalist Bloc or BNG [Guillerme VAZQUEZ Vazquez]
    Initiative for Catalonia Greens or ICV [Joan HERRERA i Torres]
    Yes to the Future or Geroa Bai [collective leadership] (a coalition of four Navarran parties)
    Popular Party or PP [Mariano RAJOY Brey]
    Republican Left of Catalonia or ERC [Oriol JUNQUERAS i Vies]
    Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE [Alfredo PEREZ Rubalcaba]
    Union of People of Navarra or UPN [Yolanda BARCINA Angulo]
    Union, Progress and Democracy or UPyD [Rosa DIEZ Gonzalez]
    United Left or IU [Cayo LARA Moya] (a coalition of parties including the Communist Party of Spain or PCE and other small parties)
    Association for Victims of Terrorism or AVT (grassroots organization devoted primarily to supporting victims of the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization)
    15-M or 15 May protest movement, which is also known as the Indignados, Spanish for the "indignant ones" (a loose association of grassroots organizations that advocate for greater accountability and transparency in Spanish politics, increased social justice and job creation)
    Socialist General Union of Workers or UGT and the smaller independent Workers Syndical Union or USO
    Trade Union Confederation of Workers' Commissions or CC.OO.
    the smaller independent Workers Syndical Union or USO
    other: business and landowning interests; Catholic Church; free labor unions (authorized in April 1977); university students
    ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BCIE, BIS, CAN (observer), CBSS (observer), CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    chief of mission: Ambassador Ramon Gil-Casares SATRUSTEGUI
    chancery: 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
    telephone: [1] (202) 452-0100, 728-2340
    FAX: [1] (202) 833-5670
    consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Alan D. SOLOMONT
    embassy: Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid
    mailing address: PSC 61, APO AE 09642
    telephone: [34] (91) 587-2200
    FAX: [34] (91) 587-2303
    consulate(s) general: Barcelona
    three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band; the coat of arms is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left, Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon) while Granada is represented by the stylized pomegranate at the bottom of the shield; the arms are framed by two columns representing the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar; the red scroll across the two columns bears the imperial motto of "Plus Ultra" (further beyond) referring to Spanish lands beyond Europe; the triband arrangement with the center stripe twice the width of the outer dates to the 18th century
    note: the red and yellow colors are related to those of the oldest Spanish kingdoms: Aragon, Castile, Leon, and Navarre
    Pillars of Hercules
    name: "Himno Nacional Espanol" (National Anthem of Spain)

    lyrics/music: none/unknown
    note: officially in use between 1770 and 1931, restored in 1939; the Spanish anthem has no lyrics; in the years prior to 1931 it became known as "Marcha Real" (The Royal March); it first appeared in a 1761 military bugle call book and was replaced by "Himno de Riego" in the years between 1931 and 1939; the long version of the anthem is used for the king, while the short version is used for the prince, prime minister, and occasions such as sporting events

Economy ::Spain

    After almost 15 years of above average GDP growth, the Spanish economy began to slow in late 2007 and entered into a recession in the second quarter of 2008. GDP contracted by 3.7% in 2009, ending a 16-year growth trend, and by another 0.3% in 2010; GDP expanded 0.4% in 2011, before contracting 1.4% in 2012. The economy has once again fallen into recession as deleveraging in the private sector, fiscal consolidation, and continued high unemployment weigh on domestic demand and investment, even as exports have shown signs of resiliency. The unemployment rate rose from a low of about 8% in 2007 to 26.0% in 2012. The economic downturn has also hurt Spain's public finances. The government budget deficit peaked at 11.2% of GDP in 2010 and the process to reduce this imbalance has been slow despite the central government's efforts to raise new tax revenue and cut spending. Spain reduced its budget deficit to 9.4% of GDP in 2011, and roughly 7.4% of GDP in 2012, above the 6.3% target negotiated between Spain and the EU. Although Spain''s large budget deficit and poor economic growth prospects remain a source of concern for foreign investors, the government''s ongoing efforts to cut spending and introduce flexibility into the labor markets are intended to assuage these concerns. The government is also taking steps to shore up the banking system, namely by using up to $130 billion in EU funds to recapitalize struggling banks exposed to the collapsed domestic construction and real estate sectors.
    $1.434 trillion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    $1.454 trillion (2011 est.)
    $1.448 trillion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $1.352 trillion (2012 est.)
    -1.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    0.4% (2011 est.)
    -0.3% (2010 est.)
    $31,100 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    $31,500 (2011 est.)
    $31,400 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    18.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    17.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
    18.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 59.2%
    government consumption: 20.1%
    investment in fixed capital: 19.1%
    investment in inventories: 0.5%
    exports of goods and services: 32.2%
    imports of goods and services: -31.1%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 3.3%
    industry: 26.4%
    services: 70.3% (2012 est.)
    grain, vegetables, olives, wine grapes, sugar beets, citrus; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish
    textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and refractory products, footwear, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment
    -4.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    23.05 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    agriculture: 4.2%
    industry: 24%
    services: 71.7% (2009 est.)
    25.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    21.7% (2011 est.)
    21.1% (2012)
    lowest 10%: 2.6%
    highest 10%: 26.6% (2000)
    32 (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    32.5 (1990)
    revenues: $491.2 billion
    expenditures: $634.6 billion (2012 est.)
    36.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    -10.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    84.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    69.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    2.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    3% (2011 est.)
    1.5% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    1.75% (31 December 2010)
    note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
    8.3% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    8.09% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $784.5 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    $778.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
    $1.969 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    $2.211 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $3.029 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    $3.152 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.031 trillion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    $1.172 trillion (31 December 2010)
    $1.297 trillion (31 December 2009)
    -$18.8 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    -$52.28 billion (2011 est.)
    $291.7 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    $303.3 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods
    France 16.8%, Germany 10.8%, Italy 7.7%, Portugal 7.1%, UK 6.5% (2012)
    $323.7 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    $361.8 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments
    Germany 11.8%, France 11.5%, Italy 6.7%, China 5.6%, Netherlands 5.4%, UK 4.1% (2012)
    $50.59 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    $47.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $2.311 trillion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    $2.269 trillion (31 December 2011)
    $723.5 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    $700.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $716.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    $721.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    euros (EUR) per US dollar -
    0.7778 (2012 est.)
    0.7185 (2011 est.)
    0.755 (2010 est.)
    0.7198 (2009 est.)
    0.6827 (2008 est.)

Energy ::Spain

Communications ::Spain

    19.867 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    52.598 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    general assessment: well-developed, modern facilities; fixed-line teledensity exceeds 40 per 100 persons
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 150 telephones per 100 persons
    international: country code - 34; submarine cables provide connectivity to Europe, Middle East, Asia, and US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to adjacent countries (2011)
    a mixture of both publicly operated and privately owned TV and radio stations; overall, hundreds of TV channels are available including national, regional, local, public, and international channels; satellite and cable TV systems available; multiple national radio networks, a large number of regional radio networks, and a larger number of local radio stations; overall, hundreds of radio stations (2008)
    4.228 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    28.119 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 14

Transportation ::Spain

    150 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    total: 99
    over 3,047 m: 18
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 14
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
    914 to 1,523 m: 24
    under 914 m: 24 (2013)
    total: 51
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 13
    under 914 m:
    36 (2013)
    10 (2013)
    gas 10,481 km; oil 616 km; refined products 3,461 km (2013)
    total: 15,293 km
    country comparison to the world: 18
    broad gauge: 11,919 km 1.668-m gauge (6,950 km electrified)
    standard gauge: 1,392 km 1.435-m gauge (1,054 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 1,954 km 1.000-m gauge (815 km electrified); 28 km 0.914-m gauge (2008)
    total: 681,298 km
    country comparison to the world: 10
    paved: 681,298 km (includes 15,152 km of expressways) (2008)
    1,000 km (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    total: 132
    country comparison to the world: 44
    by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 19, chemical tanker 8, container 5, liquefied gas 12, passenger/cargo 43, petroleum tanker 18, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 9, vehicle carrier 7
    foreign-owned: 27 (Canada 4, Germany 4, Italy 1, Mexico 1, Norway 10, Russia 6, Switzerland 1)
    registered in other countries: 103 (Angola 1, Argentina 3, Bahamas 6, Brazil 12, Cape Verde 1, Cyprus 6, Ireland 1, Malta 8, Morocco 9, Panama 30, Peru 1, Portugal 18, Uruguay 5, Venezuela 1, unknown 1) (2010)
    Algeciras, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Huelva, Tarragona, Valencia (Spain); Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)

Military ::Spain

Transnational Issues ::Spain

    in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement; the Government of Gibraltar insists on equal participation in talks between the UK and Spain; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; Morocco protests Spain's control over the coastal enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas, and surrounding waters; both countries claim Isla Perejil (Leila Island); Morocco serves as the primary launching site of illegal migration into Spain from North Africa; Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 Congress of Vienna and the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz
    stateless persons: 36 (2012)
    despite rigorous law enforcement efforts, North African, Latin American, Galician, and other European traffickers take advantage of Spain's long coastline to land large shipments of cocaine and hashish for distribution to the European market; consumer for Latin American cocaine and North African hashish; destination and minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering site for Colombian narcotics trafficking organizations and organized crime