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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Doing business in Spain An introductory guide to the market

Fast Facts: Spain

The Geography
Area : 505,000 sq km, the second largest country in Western Europe ( approximately 63 per cent of the size of NSW) . Includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, and two North African enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla.

South Western Europe on the Iberian peninsula, bordered by Portugal to the west, and France and Andorra to the northeast. The Mediterranean Sea lies to the east and south, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Bay of Biscay to the north.

Terrain Mountainous with high plateaus. Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland.
Climate Predominantly Mediterranean climate mild in winter and hot and dry in summer. Most extreme differences found in the interior, with cold winters and hot summers. North coast is relatively cool and wet.
Regions 19 Autonomous Regions ( including the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla in Northern Africa) ; further divided into 50 provinces.
Largest Cities Madrid ( capital) , Barcelona, Valencia, Seville.
The People
Population 41 million, fifth largest population in the European Union.
Population Density 80 inhabitants per square kilometre. Language: Official national language is Castilian Spanish, although Catalan, Galician, Valencian and Basque are official languages in their respective regions.
Religion 83 per cent Roman Catholic. Education: Education is compulsory until age of 16. Literacy rate is 98 per cent.
Labour Force 16.8 million. Services: 62.5 per cent; industry: 19.8 per cent; construction: 11.1 per cent; agriculture: 6.6 per cent.
The Political Institutions
System Hereditary Constitutional Monarchy
Constitution 1978, enshrines fundamental civil rights, public freedoms and separation of powers.
Head of State HM King Juan Carlos I ( inaugurated 22 November 1975) Legislature: Bicameral parliament ( known as the Cortes Generales ) , comprising the Congreso de los Diputados ( Congress of Deputies) , and the Senado ( Senate) .
Executive Headed by the President of the Government ( Prime Minister) , who, after receiving the support of the majority in the Congress of Deputies, is appointed by the King. The Prime Minister appoints and heads up the Council of Ministers ( Cabinet) . There is also Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the Government.
Judiciary Based on civil law system. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the State, although the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over constitutional issues.
National elections Every four years, next to be scheduled by the end of March 2004. All citizens may vote from 18 years of age.
Political Parties Popular Party ( PP) centre-right; Spanish Socialist Workers Party ( PSOE) main opposition party; United Left coalition ( IU) . Important regional parties: Convergence and Union ( CiU) from Catalonia; and Basque Nationalist Party ( PNV) .
Current Government Prime Minister José María Aznar of the PP, in power since May 1996. The PP won an absolute majority in elections held in 2000.
Regional Government Each of the Autonomous Regions maintains its own legislative assembly, with an autonomous government headed by Premier.
European Union Spain joined the European Community on 1 January 1986 and w s a founding member of the European Union, which entered into force on 1 November 1993.
The Economy
GDP growth 1.9 per cent for 2002, forecast: 2.5 per cent in 2003
GDP per capita US$ 15,000 Inflation: 3.5 per cent in 2002 Unemployment: 11.3 per cent in 2002 Currency: EURO ( ) ( 1 Euro = 166.386 pesetas) GDP by Sector: Services: 63.7 per cent Manufacturing, mining and utilities: 19.1 per cent Construction: 8.3 per cent Agriculture, forestry and fishing: 3.2 per cent Other: 5.7 per cent
Inflation 3.5 per cent in 2002
Unemployment 11.3 per cent in 2002
Currency EURO (€ )(1 Euro =166.386 pesetas)
GDP by Sector Services:63.7 per cent
Manufacturing,mining and utilities:19.1 per cent
Construction:8.3 per cent
Agriculture,forestry and fishing:3.2 per cent
Other:5.7 per cent

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