Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy
Area: 505 941 sq km
Population: 46 401 053 inhab. (estimate 2017)
Density: 91.71 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 44° - 36° N; long. 9° W - 4° E
Capital: Madrid (capital) 3 182 981 inhab. (2017); Madrid 6 385 000 inhab. (2017), urban agglomeration
Currency: euro (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.884 (rank: 27)
Sovereign: King Felipe VI de Borbón, since 19 June 2014
Prime Minister: Pedro Sanchez (PSOE), since 2 June 2018
Congress of Deputies: seats based on the elections of 26 June 2016: PP (Popular Party, centre-right), 137; PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), 85; Unidos Podemos (left-wing alliance formed by Podemos, United Left and others), 71; Ciudadanos (Citizens, liberal centre), 32; ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia), 9; CDC (Democratic Convergence of Catalonia), 8; PNV (Basque Nationalist Party), 5; others, 3
Internet: www.ine.es (Instituto Nacional de Estadística)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code E
International dialling code 0034
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .es
GMT Madrid +1; Canary Islands 0
DST Madrid +2; Canary Islands +1
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Madrid 14.2; Barcelona 15.4; Las Palmas (Canarie) 20.5; Santander 14.3; Siviglia 18.3
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Madrid 6/24.5; Barcelona 9/23; Las Palmas (Canarie) 18/22; Santander 9.5/19; Siviglia 10/27
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Madrid 11/5; Barcelona 9/4; Las Palmas (Canarie) 11/6; Santander 6/2; Siviglia 11/5
Annual average precipitation (mm) Madrid 465; Barcelona 660; Las Palmas (Canarie) 204; Santander 1240; Siviglia 578
Days of rainfall (annual average) Madrid 94; Barcelona 70; Las Palmas (Canarie) 30; Santander 178; Siviglia 80
Politics and current affairs
In 2017-18, Spain experienced a complex period of political instability, owed to the conflict in Catalonia and the crisis involving Mariano Rajoy’s government. Following the separatists’ victory in the referendum on 1 October 2017, declared illegal by the Spanish courts, on 27 October, Parliament in Barcelona unilaterally declared Catalonia’s independence, fanning the flames of a constitutional conflict. The Spanish government reacted by appointing a commissioner to oversee the region, dissolving parliament and decreeing the arrest of political exponents of independence, accusing them of an insurrection. Some leaders who fled abroad, including the deposed president Charles Puidgemont, are at risk of extradition. Early elections in Catalonia on 21 December upheld the separatist majority. Having overcome the institutional deadlock following attempts to elect Puidgemont remotely, on 14 May 2018, Parliament elected Quim Torra as the new president of Catalonia.
Following a scandal regarding corruption and slush funds that involved several high-ranking members of the People’s Party, and the political pressures that derived from it, on 1 July 2018, a vote of no confidence was cast against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy by the Congress of Deputies. At the same time, Congress elected Pedro Sánchez, a leader of the Socialist Workers’ Party, as his replacement, who took over as head of the government, backed by a new and mixed centre-left majority that revolves around the PSOE and Ciudadanos coalition.
Spain is bordered by France and Andorra to the north-east and Portugal to the west. The Mediterranean Sea lies off its east and south-east coast and the Atlantic Ocean off its south-west and north-west coast. It comprises two archipelagoes: the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The country is made up of a vast plateau, the Meseta Central, which slopes gently to the west with an average altitude of between 600 m and 1000 m. The Meseta is surrounded by the Cordillera Cantábrica and the Pyrenees to the north, the Sistema Ibérico to the east, and the Sierra Morena to the south. The highest mountains are in the Sistema Bético, to the south: Cerro Mulhacén, in the Sierra Nevada is 3482 m above sea-level. The most important rivers are the River Ebro, Miño, Duero, Tagus, Guadiana and the Guadalquivir. The climate is predominantly Mediterranean continental, except in the north (oceanic), and in the southern coast (subtropical arid).
The Balearic Islands comprise the islands of Majorca (3624 km²), Minorca (695 km²), Ibiza (570 km²), Formentera (81 km²), Cabrera and other minor islets. The Canary Islands, which are physically part of Africa, comprise the islands of Fuerteventura (1660 km²), Gran Canaria (1560 km²), Lanzarote (846 km²), Tenerife (2034 km²), La Palma (708 km²), La Gomera (370 km²), El Hierro (269 km²) and other minor islands.
In 1975, Spain emerged from almost 40 years of dictatorship following the death of General Francisco Franco, who had been in power since the Civil War (1936-39).
The transition to democracy was guided by the moderate parties and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, with the active support of the monarchy. The Constitution of 1978 entrusts legislative power to the Parliament (Las Cortes Generales), comprising the Congress of Deputies (350 members) and the Senate, both elected directly for four years (57 of the current 265 senators are appointed by the parliaments of the autonomous communities into which Spain is divided). The Prime Minister is elected by Parliament after being put forward by the King. The autonomous regions have a large amount of power: the 17 autonomous communities created in 1983 wield considerable power, to such an extent that Spain verges on having a federal structure.
The army is completely professional. The Spanish police are called the Guardia Civil.
According to the Criminal Code of 1996, the maximum jail sentence is 30 years, except in the case of life imprisonment.
|Madrid||3 182 981||inhab.||2017|
|Barcelona||1 620 809||inhab.||2017|
|Madrid||6 385 000||inhab.||2017|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2017)|
|Foreigners, total||4 572 807||units||2017|
The economy continues to grow beyond expectations (+3.1% in 2017; +2.6% expected in 2018), thanks to a trend in internal demand and exports. The value of the GDP exceeded has pre-crisis levels, while the unemployment rate should continue to drop to 14% in 2019.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||103.64||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||-30 122||M US$||2017|
|Active population||22 741 700||units||2017|
|Active population, Females||46.5||%||2017|
|Unemployment rate, Females||51.3||%||2017|
|Expenses||218 332||M LCU||2017|
|Revenues||196 199||M LCU||2017|
|Currency in circulation||139.7||BN LCU||2017|
|International reserves||69 400.2||M US$||2017|
Although just 10% of the land is considered excellent for farming, Spain ranks second in the EU for the amount of land devoted to agricultural activities. Technological innovations in the sector have allowed for a large increase in agricultural production. Fruit and vegetables are produced the most. The country is the top olive exporter in the world and the top producer of citruses in Western Europe. Despite the area dedicated to vineyards being the largest in the world, the country’s abundant wine production isn’t at the levels of nearby France and Italy.
Pastoralism and rearing occupy most of the country’s farming lands. Sheep rearing is famous thanks to the precious wool of the Merino breed. Spanish rearing produces significant amounts of pork, beef and dairy products.
There is a healthy fishing industry; the main ports are Vigo, Pasajes, Corunna, Huelva, Algeciras and Cadiz.
|barley||7 979.59||1000 t||2016|
|cereals, total||21 491.22||1000 t||2016|
|potatoes||2 096.475||1000 t||2016|
|roots and tubers, total||2 117.358||1000 t||2016|
|beans, dry||10.704||1000 t||2016|
|beans, green||173.191||1000 t||2016|
|grapes||5 934.239||1000 t||2016|
|olives||6 559.884||1000 t||2016|
|sugar beet||3 240.073||1000 t||2016|
|seed cotton||175.508||1000 t||2016|
|flax fibre and tow||0.019||1000 t||2016|
|hemp tow waste||0.011||1000 t||2016|
|citrus fruits||7 022.271||1000 t||2016|
|citrus fruits, nes||13.681||1000 t||2016|
|barley||2 800.628||1000 ha||2016|
|sweet potatoes||0.794||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, dry||5.353||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, green||8.98||1000 ha||2016|
|olive||2 573.473||1000 ha||2016|
|sugar beet||33.168||1000 ha||2016|
|seed cotton||61.777||1000 ha||2016|
|flax fibre and tow||0.017||1000 ha||2016|
|hemp tow waste||0.01||1000 ha||2016|
|citrus fruits||363.722||1000 ha||2016|
|citrus fruits, nes||2.658||1000 ha||2016|
|cork - t||67 500||t||2003|
|timber||17 847 860||m³||2016|
|cattle||6 257.057||1000 heads||2016|
|cattle and buffaloes||6 257.057||1000 heads||2016|
|pigs||29 231.595||1000 heads||2016|
|sheep||15 962.892||1000 heads||2016|
|goats||3 088.035||1000 heads||2016|
|asses and mules||250.375||1000 heads||2016|
|birds||142 871||1000 heads||2016|
|silk, raw||0.015||1000 t||2014|
|crustaceans and molluscs||272 962.805||t||2016|
Spain has considerable and varied underground resources. The sector is dominated by industrial mineral and metal extraction. Pyrite deposits are immensely important, extending for 240 km, from Seville to south of Lisbon, as are lead minerals (Sierra Morena), zinc (Santander, Basque Country) and copper. Coal, oil and natural gas are also extracted. The extraction sector employees more than 30 000 people.
Despite large investments in renewable energy, the country remains dependent on fossil fuels and diversified imports of oil and gas, which constitute the primary energy resources. Algeria is a major supplier of natural gas, which arrives via the Maghreb-Europe pipeline, inaugurated in 2011.
About one fifth of Spanish electrical energy comes from seven nuclear power plants at Almaraz (Cáceres), Ascó and Vandellós (Tarragona), Cofrentes (Valencia), Trillo (Guadalajara).
Pro-renewable energy policies have favoured the development of businesses active in the production of solar and wind energy. Spain boasts one of the most innovative and competitive energy sectors.
The top-ranking industry in the world for the production of renewable energy (Iberdrola) is Spanish and headquartered in Bilbao.
Spanish industry has been largely modernized and is highly diversified. In addition to the traditional sectors of textiles, iron and steel and leather, new sectors such as electronics, information technology, engineering and food are also important.
The iron and steel industry is concentrated in five main areas: Vizcaya, Asturias, in eastern Spain, Catalonia which specializes in the production of special steels, and in Santander. The main products of the metalworking industry are aluminium, copper, lead, zinc and tin.
The main oil refineries are at Corunna, Bilbao, Castellón de la Plana, Escombreras, Palos de la Frontera, Puertollano, San Roque, Somorrostro, Tarragona and Tenerife.
The chemical industry is based in Catalonia. The rubber industry is concentrated at Villanueva y Geltrú, Manresa, Barcelona (tyres), Aranjuez and Torrelavega.
Mechanical engineering plants are located in the major cities: Barcelona, Oviedo, Reinosa and Toledo (weapons) and Seville. The automobile industry is one of the most important sectors, contributing to almost 10% of the GDP. The 13 plants currently active in the country produce 2.8 million cars annually, 80% of which are exported, making Spain second in the EU for automobile production. Some of the biggest international companies operate in the country, including SPA and SEAT, as well as Daimler AG, Ford, Renault and Nissan. The principal shipyards are located at El Ferrol, Cartagena, Cadiz, Barcelona and Bilbao. As regards the textile industry, the most important segment is cotton, which is widespread especially in Catalonia. In the food sector, sugar processing and the beer industry play an important role. The paper industry is concentrated in the Basque Provinces, in Catalonia and Valencia. Ceramics and the glass industry are also widespread.
|coal||2 781||1000 t||2017|
|coal, total||2 781||1000 t||2017|
|basalt||1 100||1000 t||2014|
|- thermal||115 070.1||M kWh||2015|
|- other renew.||68 004||M kWh||2015|
|- thermal||48 165||1000 kW||2015|
|- other renew.||31 374||1000 kW||2015|
|total net generation||265 489.1||M kWh||2015|
|total installed capacity||106 713||1000 kW||2015|
|alumina||1 570||1000 t||2017|
|cars||2 291 492||no.||2017|
|air conditioners||2 834 000||no.||2015|
|bitumen||2 491||1000 t||2015|
|petrol||8 639.9||1000 t||2014|
|caustic soda||508.9||1000 t||2015|
|carpets||4 793||1000 m²||2015|
|cotton fabrics||176.9||M m²||2015|
|footwear||102 848 125||pairs||2015|
|beer of barley||3 353.5||1000 t||2014|
|cottonseed oil||16.8||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||19 302.3||M units||2015|
|cigars||1 455.8||M units||2015|
|chemical pulp||1 562.9||1000 t||2016|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||1 652.9||1000 t||2016|
|cement||15 000||1000 t||2015|
|chemicals production||19 660.2||M US$||2014|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||34 981.9||M US$||2014|
With a resumption in domestic consumption, the trading balance has returned to the traditional deficit. The main partners are EU countries, the US and China.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) cars 35 776, machinery 23 925, vehicles and parts thereof 19 730, electrical and electronic equipment 16 677, iron and steel 14 428, apparel and accessories 13 751, petroleum products 13 734, fruit and vegetables 12 569, plastics 12 134, pharmaceuticals 11 348, chemicals 10 353, aircraft and parts thereof 6 496, meat 6 432, cosmetics and perfumes 4 561, olive oil 4 136, aluminium 4 043, paper 3 834, tyres and rubber articles 3 829, furniture and accessories 3 638, ceramic products 3 602, citrus fruits 3 588, fish 3 458
Finance and banking.
The system consists of major banking groups (BBVA and Santander) and a network of smaller savings banks. The banking sector has received huge public aid following the real estate crisis and based on an EU bank bailout, which ended in January 2014. A stock exchange is active in Madrid.
|manufactures||72.562||% of goods exports||2016|
|food products||17.006||% of goods exports||2016|
|France||46 955||M US$||2017|
|Germany||34 899||M US$||2017|
|Germany||43 896||M US$||2017|
|France||37 616||M US$||2017|
Tourism. The country is among the top tourist destinations in the world, with over 75.6 million international visitors and a production value equal to 11% of the national GDP. Its greatest attractions are the seaside resorts on the Mediterranean coast, the islands and its historic cities.
|Expenditures||19 284||M US$||2016|
|Number of arrivals||75 315 000||units||2016|
The railways network has been completely overhauled: the Spanish part of the European high-speed rail network is one of the most extensive in the world (about 3100 km in 2013). Air traffic is largely based on the airports of Madrid and Barcelona.
Media and telecommunication.
The Spanish telecom company Telefónica is very active on the international market and controls other providers in Germany, Ireland, the UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia and in South America.
|Civil aviation, km flown||520 300 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||71 908.5||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||312.244||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||393.1||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education, culture & research.
Primary and secondary education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 11, and the ages of 12 and 15 respectively. Students can continue their studies at schools leading to technical specialization or other schools which prepare students for university.
Social security and health.
The national security system covers disability, illness, accidents at work and maternity. It also provides child allowance for disadvantaged families, retirement pensions and unemployment benefits.
The entire segment is subject to severe cuts, which are destroying its effectiveness. A large number of private operators work in the sphere of healthcare services. The legislation is particularly advanced: living wills were authorized in 2002 and in 2010 Andalusia legalized passive euthanasia.
|Expected years of schooling||17.9||years||2016|
|Teachers, primary level||228 299||units||2015|
|Teachers, secondary level||276 487||units||2015|
|Social protection spending||40.5||% of total expenses||2016|
|Social protection spending||24.6||% of GDP||2015|
|Hospital beds||3||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|Physicians||3.8||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|HIV||0.4||% of adults||2016|
|Museums, visitors||58 418 342||units||2014|
|Research and development spending||1.19||% of GDP||2016|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2016|