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Bank of Spain cuts growth forecasts on higher trade and political risks

MADRID: A slowdown in Spain’s main export markets, concerns over potential global trade disputes, a fragmented parliament and uncertainty over Catalonia prompted the Bank of Spain to cut growth forecasts to 2020. The central bank saw the Spanish economy growing by 2.6 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of 2.7 percent, and expected that to slow to 2.0 ... Read More »

Smugglers pave path for migrants from Africa to Europe

They scale barbed-wire topped fences and cross the sea in inflatable boats or jet skis — more than 36,000 migrants entered Spain this year seeking a better life in Europe. Almost all of them relied on smugglers to make the crossing. Ousman Umar, who made a five-year journey from Ghana to Spain, said it was “impossible” to travel thousands of ... Read More »

Spain arrests seven for large-scale migrant smuggling operation

Spanish police have arrested seven individuals on suspicion of running a large-scale migrant smuggling operation. The individuals arrested were part of an organised crime group which is thought to have enabled the illegal entry into Spain of up to 300 irregular migrants, as part of a large-scale migrant smuggling operation which stretched from Francophone countries in Africa to France itself. ... Read More »

IMF warns about Spanish economy’s vulnerability from external imbalance

Spain’s net international investment position (NIIP), or the difference between its external financial assets and liabilities, has improved from -94% of GDP in 2009 to -81% in 2017. Despite this improvement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning about the potential risks it poses to the Spanish economy. In its 2018 External Sector Report, the global body notes that “the ... Read More »

Spanish police arrest alleged leader of drug-smuggling gang

Spanish police have arrested a man alleged to be one of the biggest drug-smugglers operating on the violence-ridden stretch of southern coast close to Gibraltar. The man, named in media reports as Antonio Tejón, is one of the two brothers who head the Castañas gang, which allegedly brings huge quantities of hashish over from Morocco on powerful speedboats. He was ... Read More »

Spanish police arrest alleged leader of drug-smuggling gang

Spanish police have arrested a man alleged to be one of the biggest drug-smugglers operating on the violence-ridden stretch of southern coast close to Gibraltar. The man, named in media reports as Antonio Tejón, is one of the two brothers who head the Castañas gang, which allegedly brings huge quantities of hashish over from Morocco on powerful speedboats. He was ... Read More »

Arrest of Manuel Charlín, 85, reveals resilience of Galicia’s cocaine clans

When police intercepted a ship off the Azores carrying a shipment of 2.4 tonnes of cocaine bound for Galicia in north-west Spain last week, they were surprised when the trail led them to the legendary drug trafficker Manuel Charlín Gama. The 85-year-old head of the “Charlines” clan, whom everyone assumed had retired, and his son Melchor were among 28 people ... Read More »

80 per cent of European hashish smuggled in every year to Spanish town near Gibraltar

Spanish police are struggling to contain extremely organized crime networks in the narco-hub town of La Línea, just north of the Spain-Gibraltar border. A Spanish coastal town of under 65,000 people is the entry point for 80 per cent of the hashish resin consumed annually by Europe, claims a report by northern Spanish daily La Voz de Galicia. At least ... Read More »

Opportunities heat up for Irish companies in soaring Spain

Sun, sea and sand are typically top on the minds of Irish travellers to Spain. While most of the more than two million people who visited Spain from Ireland in 2017 were holiday-makers, an increasing number are travelling to realise new business opportunities. For many Irish exporters, Spain, the Eurozone’s fourth-largest economy, now means business. The International Monetary Fund recently ... Read More »

Spain, Portugal bust gang smuggling eels worth $625 million to Asia

MADRID—A joint investigation by Spanish and Portuguese authorities has brought down a criminal network that has been making lucrative profits by smuggling glass eels to Asia. In the latest operation against the traffickers that was concluded in March but only revealed Friday, four Chinese citizens, three Spaniards and three Moroccans were arrested in Spain in an operation co-ordinated by the ... Read More »

Billions of Eu money wasted on Spain’s high-speed rail

Since 2000, the EU has been funding various high-speed railways across the bloc. But a recent report by the European Court Auditors found that ‘effectiveness of the investments is lacking and EU added value is at risk’. The report adds that ‘low passenger numbers are leading to high risk of ineffective spending of €2.7 billion EU co-funding’. Potential routes under ... Read More »

Brit arrested for transatlantic drug smuggling in Spain

A major international manhunt for two Britons accused of smuggling over a tonne of cocaine hidden in a yacht in a transatlantic narcotics operation, disguised as a routine ship delivery from Brazil to Portugal, has resulted in the capture of one of the suspects in Spain. The arrest of Robert Delbos, 66, on 15 June by Interpol, follows tip-offs from ... Read More »

Trial of doctor, 85, puts Spain in dock over ‘stolen babies’

An 85-year-old doctor accused of abducting a newborn girl from her mother almost half a century ago will appear in court in Madrid this week, becoming the first person to stand trial over Spain’s long and infamous . Thousands of families are thought to have been caught up in the illegal practice, which began shortly after the end of the ... Read More »

How Spain Got Its Swagger Back

Nine years ago, Spanish entrepreneur Javier Goyeneche was fighting a losing battle to save his footwear and accessories company from the cratering economy. Today he has a new venture making apparel from waste plastic harvested from the ocean, and he’s on track to double revenue for a second straight year. “I started Ecoalf in the middle of the crisis, and ... Read More »

Spain to take in 629 migrants stranded at sea after Italy refuses

Spain has agreed to take in 629 migrants stranded on a rescue boat in the Mediterranean Sea after Italy’s new government denied the vessel access to its ports in a bid to force a European reckoning over the migration situation. The move by Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s new socialist prime minister, to allow the migrants to disembark in Valencia looked set ... Read More »

Spain’s new prime minister names cabinet with women in majority

MADRID – Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez named his cabinet on Wednesday, with women taking most of the posts at the top of government for the first time in the country’s history. Sanchez, whose Socialist party holds just 84 of 350 parliamentary seats, was propelled into office on Friday after an unlikely alliance of anti-austerity and nationalist parties backed ... Read More »

Spain’s Socialists pledge ‘elections within months’ if vote succeeds

Spain’s Socialist Party pledged to hold new elections within months if its attempt to unseat Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy with a parliamentary no-confidence vote succeeds. The country’s biggest opposition party, led by Pedro Sanchez, filed the motion seeking Rajoy’s ouster in the 350-seat lower house of parliament on Friday. No date has been set for the vote, but the bid ... Read More »

Spanish Government to present a new digital tax year

MADRID: Spain’s economy minister Román Escolano said on Saturday that the government wants to present a new digital tax this year that will hurt technology firms, with the aim of entering into force in 2019. Escolano hoped to be able to approve soon a new tributary figure that contributes to paying in part the rise of the pensions that gather ... Read More »

Irish men arrested after €3.4m cannabis seizure in Spain

Five men, including four from Ireland, have been arrested after €3.4m worth of cannabis herb was seized in Spain. The drugs were discovered north-west of Malaga among pallets of lettuce in a truck that was destined for Ireland. The four Irish men – aged 56, 45, 35 and 33 – along with a 27-year-old Romanian man were detained on 6 ... Read More »

Gibraltar FURY: Spain exploits Brexit to demand police in international airport

Gibraltar, which is a British overseas territory, has been subject to various attempts to reclaim its sovereignty by Spain, with Brexit providing the latest opportunity for Madrid to flex its muscles and once again attempt a land grab. The European Union granted Spain the power of veto over the future relationship between Gibraltar and the EU after Britain leaves the ... Read More »