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Yearbook 2011

Spain. As one of the last countries in Western Europe, Spain introduced a ban on smoking from the beginning of the year. The resistance was great and reports were made in their quarters about the obvious when smokers defied the ban.

2011 Spain

According to Countryaah official site, the economic crisis worsened during the year. The euro area countries tried to help keep Spain's borrowing costs down as it was considered too expensive if the country needed support. Nevertheless, interest rates rose and were at most stumbling close to 7% for a ten-year loan - the level that has prompted a few other euro area countries to seek help. Unemployment rose above 22% and was the highest in the EU; among young people it was around 46%. Many Spaniards sat with high loans for housing that fell sharply in value. There were a million empty homes in the country, some of which were not even completed.

The dissatisfaction with the Social Democratic Government Party PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Espaņol) grew stronger. The tough savings packages implemented in 2010 had not produced any visible results. In the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, mainly students and young unemployed people gathered in May. They called themselves "los indignados" (the upset) and camped in the square. The wave of protests spread to other cities, and large demonstrations were held on several occasions.

In May, regional and municipal elections were held which became a tough blow to the PSOE, which lost in principle everything that was lost. The only regions the PSOE had control over after the elections were two where elections were not held: Andalusia and the Basque Country. The result strengthened the opposition's demand for new elections. In July, the government also decided to announce elections in November, four months before the ordinary election date. As expected, the result was a big victory for the conservative Partido Popular (PP), despite the party's main message being continued austerity. PP received its biggest support ever, with almost 45% of the vote and its own majority in both chambers. PSOE made a poor record with 29% of the vote. New head of government became PP's leader Mariano Rajoy.

Just before New Year, the new government presented a new savings package worth € 8.9 billion. The package included both spending cuts and tax increases.

The Basque separatist movement ETA announced in January a permanent ceasefire. In October, it was announced that the weapons had been closed down for good. Thus, over 40 years of terrorist attacks and political murders would be over. Of all the judgments, it was a capitulation of a group that lost support and was weakened by police in Spain and France seizing a long line of leaders for several years.

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