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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Spain

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Spain Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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), have given Spain one of the most dynamic economies in Europe and made it a global champion of freedom. Continuing challenges include Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism and relatively high unemployment.
   Geography    Spain Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
40 00 N, 4 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 504,782 sq km
land: 499,542 sq km
water: 5,240 sq km
note: there are 2 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
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than twice the size of Oregon
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
4,964 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
Definition Field Listing
temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast
Definition Field Listing
large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 27.18%
permanent crops: 9.85%
other: 62.97% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
37,800 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
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
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
   People    Spain Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
40,397,842 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 14.4% (male 3,000,686/female 2,821,325)
15-64 years: 67.8% (male 13,751,963/female 13,653,426)
65 years and over: 17.7% (male 2,993,496/female 4,176,946) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 39.9 years
male: 38.6 years
female: 41.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.13% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.06 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.72 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4.37 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.76 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 79.65 years
male: 76.32 years
female: 83.2 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.28 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.7% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
140,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 1,000 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Spaniard(s)
adjective: Spanish
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types
Definition Field Listing
Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%
Definition Field Listing
Castilian Spanish 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%; note - Castilian is the official language nationwide; the other languages are official regionally
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 98.7%
female: 97.2% (2003 est.)
   Government    Spain Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
conventional short form: Spain
local long form: Reino de Espana
local short form: Espana
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary monarchy
Definition Field Listing
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
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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, Comunidad Valenciana, 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 located along the coast of Morocco and are collectively referred to as Places of Sovereignty (Plazas de Soberania)
Definition Field Listing
the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century AD 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 holiday:
Definition Field Listing
National Day, 12 October
Definition Field Listing
6 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
civil law system, with regional applications; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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) Jose Luis RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO (since 17 April 2004); First Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister (and Minister of the Presidency) Maria Teresa FERNANDEZ DE LA VEGA (since 18 April 2004) and Second Vice President (and Minister of Economy and Finance) Pedro SOLBES (since 18 April 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president
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 is usually proposed president by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly; election last held 14 March 2004 (next to be held March 2008); vice presidents appointed by the monarch on the proposal of the president
election results: Jose Luis RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO (PSOE) elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 52.29%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral; General Courts or National Assembly or Las Cortes Generales consists of the Senate or Senado (259 seats - 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 51 appointed by the regional legislatures to serve four-year terms) and the Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; members are elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 14 March 2004 (next to be held March 2008); Congress of Deputies - last held 14 March 2004 (next to be held March 2008)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - PP 49%, PSOE 38.9%, Entesa Catalona de Progress 5.7%, CiU 1.99%, PNV 2.8%, CC 1.4%; seats by party - PP 102, PSOE 81, Entesa Catalona de Progress 12, CiU 4, PNV 6, CC 3; Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PSOE 43.3%, PP 37.8%, CiU 3.2%, ERC 2.5%, PNV 1.6%, IU 3.2%, CC 0.9%; seats by party - PSOE 164, PP 148, CiU 10, ERC 8, PNV 7, IU 5, CC 3, other 3
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Aragonese Party or CHA [Bizen FUSTER]; Basque Nationalist Party or PNV [Josu Jon IMAZ]; Basque Solidarity or EA [Begona ERRAZTI]; Canarian Coalition or CC (a coalition of five parties) [Paulino RIVERO Baute]; 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 [Anxo Manuel QUINTANA Gonzalez]; Initiative for Catalonia Greens or ICV [Joan SAURA i Laporta]; Navarra yes or Na Bai (a coalition of four Navarran parties) [Uxue BARKOS Berruezo]; Popular Party or PP [Mariano RAJOY Brey]; Republican Left of Catalonia or ERC [Josep-Lluis CAROD-ROVIRA]; Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE [Jose Luis RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO]; United Left or IU (a coalition of parties including the PCE and other small parties) [Gaspar LLAMAZARES Trigo]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
business and landowning interests; Catholic Church; free labor unions (authorized in April 1977); Socialist General Union of Workers or UGT and the smaller independent Workers Syndical Union or USO; university students; Trade Union Confederation of Workers' Commissions or CC.OO.; Nunca Mas (Galician for "Never Again"; formed in response to the oil tanker Prestige oil spill)
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos WESTENDORP
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 Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Eduardo AGUIRRE, Jr.
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
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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 includes the royal seal framed by the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar
   Economy    Spain Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The Spanish economy boomed from 1986 to 1990, averaging 5% annual growth. After a European-wide recession in the early 1990s, the Spanish economy resumed moderate growth starting in 1994. Spain's mixed capitalist economy supports a GDP that on a per capita basis is 80% that of the four leading West European economies. The center-right government of former President AZNAR successfully worked to gain admission to the first group of countries launching the European single currency (the euro) on 1 January 1999. The AZNAR administration continued to advocate liberalization, privatization, and deregulation of the economy and introduced some tax reforms to that end. Unemployment fell steadily under the AZNAR administration but remains high at 8.7%. Growth averaging 3% annually during 2003-06 was satisfactory given the background of a faltering European economy. The Socialist president, RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO, has made mixed progress in carrying out key structural reforms, which need to be accelerated and deepened to sustain Spain's strong economic growth. Despite the economy's relative solid footing significant downside risks remain, including Spain's continued loss of competitiveness, the potential for a housing market collapse, the country's changing demographic profile and a decline in EU structural funds.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.07 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$1.081 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.6% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$27,000 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 3.9%
industry: 29.4%
services: 66.7% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.77 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 5.3%
industry: 30.1%
services: 64.6% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.7% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 25.2% (1990)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
32.5 (1990)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.5% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
29.4% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $488.2 billion
expenditures: $475.3 billion; including capital expenditures of $12.8 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
39.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
grain, vegetables, olives, wine grapes, sugar beets, citrus; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish
Definition Field Listing
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
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.6% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
263.3 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
241.8 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
11.4 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
8.3 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
31,250 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.573 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
135,100 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.582 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.5 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
339 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27.01 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
26.95 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.549 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-98.6 billion (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$222.1 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 19.3%, Germany 11.4%, Portugal 9.6%, UK 8.4%, Italy 8.4%, US 4.1% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$324.4 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 15.3%, France 14.7%, Italy 8.6%, UK 5.8%, Netherlands 5%, China 4.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$17 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.591 trillion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $1.33 billion (1999)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by the financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions with the member countries
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
euros per US dollar - 0.79669 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Spain Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.322 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
41.328 million (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: generally adequate, modern facilities; teledensity is 45 main lines for each 100 persons
domestic: NA
international: country code - 34; 22 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to adjacent countries
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 208, FM 715, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
224 (plus 2,105 repeaters)
note: these figures include 11 television broadcast stations and 88 repeaters in the Canary Islands (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,520,711 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19,204,771 (2006)
   Transportation    Spain Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
157 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 96
over 3,047 m: 16
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 26 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 61
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 44 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
8 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
gas 7,962 km; oil 622 km; refined products 3,447 km (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 14,873 km
broad gauge: 11,919 km 1.668-m gauge (6,950 km electrified)
standard gauge: 998 km 1.435-m gauge (998 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,928 km 1.000-m gauge (815 km electrified); 28 km 0.914-m gauge (28 km electrified) (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 666,292 km
paved: 659,629 km (including 12,009 km of expressways)
unpaved: 6,663 km (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,000 km (2003)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 169 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,902,839 GRT/1,874,161 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 13, chemical tanker 14, container 27, liquefied gas 9, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 49, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 20, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 36 (Cuba 1, Denmark 1, Germany 12, Italy 2, Mexico 3, Norway 7, UK 1, Uruguay 2, US 7)
registered in other countries: 112 (Bahamas 12, Belize 3, Brazil 4, Cambodia 1, Cape Verde 1, Cuba 1, Cyprus 7, Italy 1, Malta 6, Marshall Islands 3, Nigeria 1, Panama 53, Portugal 15, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2, UK 1, Venezuela 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Algeciras, Barcelona, Cartagena, Gijon, Huelva, La Coruna, Tarragona, Valencia
   Military    Spain Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Spanish Armed Forces: Army (Ejercito de Tierra), Spanish Navy (Armada Espanola, AE; includes Marine Corps), Spanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire Espanola, EdA) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
20 years of age (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 20-49: 9,366,588
females age 20-49: 9,155,057 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 20-49: 7,623,356
females age 20-49: 7,434,465 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 233,384
females age 20-49: 221,805 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.2% (2003)
   Transnational Issues    Spain Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
in 2003, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to remain a British colony and against a "total shared sovereignty" arrangement while demanding 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; 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
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
key European gateway country and consumer for Latin American cocaine and North African hashish entering the European market; destination and minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering site for Colombian narcotics trafficking organizations and organized crime

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

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