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Spain

Yearbook 2010

Spain. According to COUNTRYAAH, the economic situation continued to be difficult in Spain even as growth turned up among Europe's other major economies. The country's credit rating was lowered due to the high loans. The government launched crisis measures in a row to reduce the budget deficit: cuts, tax increases, increased retirement age, lower wages and frozen pensions. Unemployment remained close to 20 percent. Many were forced to leave their homes, which resulted in the banks being the owners of around 200,000 homes. The banking sector was swaying; In May, the state had to step in and save a second regional bank from bankruptcy. The government successfully sold government bonds in installments, but interest rates rose and reached alarming levels towards the end of the year.

2010 Spain

The Social Democratic minority government worked against the wind and pushed through the austerity measures by a small margin. The opposition demanded new elections and unions protested. Public servants carried out one-day strikes in June and the Madrid subway stopped for a few days. The industry was crippled by a general strike in September, the first since 2002. A strike among air traffic controllers in November caused flight chaos but was stopped when the government took an emergency permit and forced the strikers to return to work.

The Socialists suffered a stinging defeat when elections were held in Catalonia in November. The Catalan nationalist party CiU (Convergčncia in Unió) returned to power and the right-wing party PP (Partido Popular) made its best choice so far in the region.

In April, the Supreme Court indicted Judge Baltasar Garzón, who was accused of violating his powers by investigating abuses during the civil war of 1936-39 and the subsequent Franco- rian. The target raised by right-wing groups linked to Franco's phalangists has strong political explosiveness. Many demonstrated in defense of Garzón's right to investigate human rights violations.

In June, the Constitutional Court annulled parts of Catalonia's constitution adopted by the region in 2006. Catalonia does not have the right to call itself a "nation" or allow Catalan to take precedence over Spanish, according to the court. Over one million people in Barcelona took part in a protest against the court ruling in July.

A comprehensive corruption trial was opened in Malaga in September. Among the 95 defendants, there were two former mayors and several other politicians accused of a scandal in the real estate industry in Marbella in the 1990s.

In September, the Basque separatist guerrilla ETA announced a one-sided ceasefire in its fight for an independent Basque country. The government felt that the new play had no credibility, earlier ceasefires had been broken. In addition, ETA was considered to be greatly weakened. Many ETA members were arrested during the year, including several who were reported to have a leading position.

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