Country profile: Spain

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Country profile: Spain

Although at the crossroads of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa, Spain was internationally isolated under G_____ F____'s 36-year dictatorship which ended in 19__.

After F____'s death Spain made the transition to a democratic state and built a successful economy, with King Juan Carlos as head of state.



The constitution of 1978 enshrines respect for linguistic and cultural diversity within a united Spain. The country is divided into __ regions which all have their own directly elected authorities.

The level of autonomy afforded to each region is far from uniform. For example, ________, ______________ and _______ have special status with their own language and other rights.

A________, N______, V_______ and the C______ in turn have more extensive powers than some other regions. A_____ and A______ have taken steps to consolidate language rights.

The country's regional picture is a complex and evolving one.

The Giralda, Seville: Remnant of a mosque that once stood on the site

One of Spain's most serious domestic issues has been tension in the northern Basque region. The Basque separatist group Eta is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of more than 800 people since it carried out its first killing in 1968.

Eta declared a ceasefire in March ______ saying it wished to see the start of a democratic process for the Basque region. The move divided opinion in Spain. Tentative moves to negotiate a lasting peace were dealt a blow when Eta carried out a deadly bomb attack at Madrid's international airport at the end of the year.

Spain shares the Iberian peninsula with Portugal and its territory includes the _______ Islands, the _______ Islands and two North African enclaves.



  • Full name: ___________ of Spain

  • Population: _____million (official figure, 2007)

  • Capital: Madrid

  • Major languages: Spanish (_________), Catalan, _______ (Galician), _______ (Basque)

  • Major religion: Christianity

  • Life expectancy: 76 years (men), 83 years (women) (UN)

  • Monetary unit: 1 euro = 100 cents

  • Main exports: Transport equipment, agricultural products

  • GNI per capita: US $25,360 (World Bank, 2006)

  • Internet domain: .es (.cat for Catalonia)

  • International dialling code: +34



Head of state: __________________

Spaniards honour King Juan Carlos for ensuring the country's transition to democracy after the death of the former dictator, General Franco, and for saving Spain from a coup attempt in 1981.

Prime minister: ____________________________

Socialist Workers' Party leader ______________________ won a surprise election victory over Jose Maria Aznar's conservative Popular Party in March 2004.

Polling was overshadowed by a series of explosions on Madrid commuter trains in which 191 people died just days beforehand.

The government of Mr Aznar, who had allied himself closely with the positions of Washington and London on military action in Iraq, was quick to blame the Basque separatist group Eta for the bombings.

As election day approached suspicion that Islamic militants were involved mounted fast. Several people suspected of having links with Islamic militancy were later detained over the attacks.

Following his election victory, Mr Zapatero described both the war and the occupation of Iraq as a "huge disaster" and pulled Spain's 1,300 troops out of the country.

The government is some seats short of a majority and Mr Zapatero depends for some of his support on regional parties.

But in early 2007, in the aftermath of an Eta bomb attack at Madrid airport, he apologised to the nation for having pinned hopes on peace talks with the group.

Mr Zapatero was born in 1960. His grandfather, a Republican army officer, was shot dead during the Civil War. He studied law but his career has been largely devoted to politics.

He joined the Socialist Party while still in his teens and first entered parliament at 26. He became party leader in 2000.

He is married and has two daughters.

 Foreign minister: Miguel Angel Moratinos

 Interior minister: Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba

 Defence minister: Jose Antonio Alonso

 Economy and finance minister: Pedro Solbes



Broadcasting in Spain has witnessed a spectacular expansion in recent years with the emergence of new commercial operators and the launch of digital services.

The cable and satellite TV markets are growing steadily and a free-to-air digital terrestrial TV (DTT) service was relaunched in late 2005. The government aims to switch off of analogue TV transmissions by 2010.

The press in Spain

Home-produced dramas, "reality" shows and long-running "telenovelas" are staple fare on primetime TV.

Public radio and TV services are run by RadioTelevision Espanola (RTVE), which is funded by advertising and state subsidies. As well as public and commercial national TV networks, there are 13 regional stations backed by regional governments and many local stations.

Multichannel TV is offered by the satellite platform Digital Plus.

In spite of the proliferation of print and broadcast media, and their diverse political stances, concerns have been raised about political influence in the media, and particularly in public broadcasting.

The press

El Mundo - Madrid-based daily

El Pais - Madrid-based daily

ABC - Madrid-based daily

La Razon - Madrid-based daily

La Vanguardia - Barcelona-based daily

El Periodico de Catalunya - Barcelona-based daily


TVE - public, services include national networks La Primera and La 2, satellite-delivered TVE Internacional, rolling news channel 24 Horas

Tele Cinco - national, commercial

Antena 3 - national, commercial

Cuatro - national, commercial, formerly Canal+ Espana


RNE - public, services include speech network Radio 1, cultural network Radio Clasica, youth-oriented Radio 3, news station Radio 5 Todo Noticias

Cadena SER - commercial, operates more than 50 national, regional stations

Onda Cero - commercial

Cadena COPE - church-controlled

Punto Radio - commercial

News agencies

EFE - government-owned

Europa Press - private

Colpisa - private

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Printable version


Spain's national anthem

Timeline: Spain
A chronology of key events



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Compiled by BBC Monitoring


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Basque country's broken peace
13 Jan 07 |  From Our Own Correspondent

Who are Eta?
05 Jan 07 |  Europe

Sun shines on UK-Spain relations
04 Oct 06 |  Europe

Poet's death still troubles Spain
18 Aug 06 |  Europe

Civil War legacy divides Spain
18 Jul 06 |  Europe

Catalonia endorses autonomy plan
19 Jun 06 |  Europe


BBC Languages: Spain

BBC Radio 3 Guide to World Music: Spain

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BBC Weather: Spain

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Spanish interior ministry

Galleries in Spain

Spanish government

National statistics

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