Tag Archives: Spain

El Rey recibe al presidente egipcio en la Zarzuela

Abdelfatah al Sisi, junto al rey Felipe VI. / Andrea Comas

  • Felipe VI ha abordado con Abdelfatah al Sisi, que visita por primera vez España, las perspectivas de cooperación bilateral, fundamentalmente en materia económica

  • El mandatario se reunirá también con Rajoy y está previsto que ambos firmen varios acuerdos de cooperación en las áreas de seguridad y lucha contra el crimen, turismo e infraestructuras y transportes

El Rey ha recibido en el Palacio de la Zarzuela al presidente de Egipto, Abdelfatah al Sisi, que visita por primera vez España y con quien ha tenido ocasión de tratar las perspectivas de la cooperación bilateral, fundamentalmente económica, y cuestiones de actualidad en la región mediterránea.

Don Felipe ha dado la bienvenida a Al Sisi ante la entrada del palacio y, tras posar junto a él para los medios gráficos en los jardines, le ha invitado a pasar a su despacho para mantener allí la entrevista, a la que han asistido los ministros de Asuntos Exteriores de España, José Manuel García-Margallo, y Egipto, Sameh Shoukry, así como los respectivos embajadores.

En la primera visita oficial a España de un presidente egipcio desde la que realizó Hosni Mubarak en 2004, Al Sisi busca profundizar la ya positiva cooperación política y ampliar unas relaciones económicas que aún disponen de un amplio margen de mejora, actualmente muy inferiores a las que España mantiene con países como Marruecos, Argelia o Arabia Saudí.

Acuerdos de cooperación

Tras su entrevista con el Rey, el jefe de Estado egipcio se reunirá con el presidente del Gobierno, Mariano Rajoy, en el Palacio de la Moncloa, donde está previsto que se firmen varios acuerdos de cooperación en las áreas de seguridad y lucha contra el crimen, turismo e infraestructuras y transportes.

La cooperación bilateral contra el terrorismo yihadista y ante los flujos migratorios en el Mediterráneo son dos de los asuntos centrales de la agenda de Al Sisi en Madrid, junto al interés de Egipto por atraer inversiones españolas, especialmente en construcción, infraestructuras y energía, objetivo que ha marcado una reunión con empresas de ambos países, celebrada esta mañana.

El líder egipcio volverá a encontrarse hoy con don Felipe, acompañado por doña Letizia, en el almuerzo que los Reyes ofrecerán en su honor en el Palacio Real, tras el que visitará el Congreso de los Diputados, donde será recibido por el presidente de la Cámara, Jesús Posada.

Felipe VI coincidió con Al Sisi el pasado 30 de enero -el día que el Monarca cumplió 47 años- en Adis Abeba, donde ambos participaron en la cumbre de la UA y mantuvieron una reunión bilateral en la que el Rey expresó la voluntad de España de aumentar la presencia económica en Egipto y de proseguir su apoyo al proceso de paz en Oriente Próximo.

Asimismo, don Felipe coincidió con Al Sisi en la necesidad de proseguir la lucha internacional contra el terrorismo y garantizó la implicación de España en este objetivo con un papel importante desde su puesto de miembro no permanente del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU.

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Egypt president says parliament elections to be held in 2015

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Egypt’s president says the country’s delayed parliamentary elections will take place before the end of 2015.

In an interview with El Mundo newspaper published Wednesday, a day before his official visit to Spain, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says: “I give my word – they will be held before the end of the year.”

The parliamentary vote initially was set to take place in phases beginning on March 22. It is the final phase in a transition period following the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by the military, led by el-Sissi at the time. He says the vote was delayed because of constitutional appeals.

Egypt has not had an elected legislature since 2012, when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that parliament’s lower chamber was not constitutionally elected.

Crown Prince Felipe of Spain takes the throne

Juan Carlos (L) embraces his son Felipe (R)

Crown Prince Felipe of Spain took the throne at midnight  becoming King Felipe VI and facing the challenge to save the image of Spain’s royals and settle problems facing the nation.

The ceremony of enthronement begins at 10:30 on Thursday at a joint session of the lower and upper houses of parliament.

The new king, who enjoys support of most Spaniards, will take the oath and will make a speech to outline the main directions of his activity as the new head of state.

King Juan Carlos of Spain abdicates

King Juan Carlos of Spain abdicates

The 46-year-old Felipe is seen as a worthy successor to his father, Juan Carlos I. The prince received good education in Spain, Canada and the United States as well as went through military training in all branches of troops. For many years he was making official foreign trips, providing an opportunity for him to personally get acquainted with many foreign leaders and members of royal families. He has also visited all autonomous regions of Spain and is well aware of their problems. He is notable for modesty, balanced judgments, self-control and good breeding. He has never been marred in scandals, and his family life is an example of love and deep mutual respect.

Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia

Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia

However, he takes the throne at a rather difficult for the country and for the royal family time. Citizen’s trust in state institutions and politicians has declined as a result of a deep economic crisis and not always efficient policy of two major political organizations – the Socialist Workers’ Party and the People’s Party – succeeding each other as party in power. This could not but have affected the attitude towards monarchy, which for some Spaniards is relic of the past, an anti-democratic institution that must be abolished.

Besides, national problems have worsened in Spain in the past decade, triggering a growth in separatist moods in Catalonia and the Basque Country.

A scandal around the youngest daughter of Juan Carlos I, Infanta Cristina and her husband Inaki Urdangarin, who are suspected of fraud, had dealt a major blow to royal family’s prestige. All this makes a new king especially responsible to his subjects, who expect from him irreproachable conduct and more active role in the settlement of problems facing the country.

Opinion polls show that the new monarch enjoys support of the majority of the population and major political parties. Time will show now whether he will manage to live up to the expectations of rank-and-file Spaniards and political elite.

Spain turns to Algeria’s natural gas amid Ukraine crisis

Spain has decided to import more natural gas from Algeria amid the crisis in Ukraine.

Visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters upon his arrival Friday in Algeria on a two-day visit that “Spain seeks to boost energy cooperation with Algeria, especially in natural gas,” Xinhua reports.

“It is time for us to discuss what we can do in terms of energy cooperation with our North African friends, including Algerians,” he said, noting that Algeria “supplies Spain with 45 percent of its natural gas imports. ”

Algeria outputs 152 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, 60 billion cubic meters of which are annually exported. It supplies the European Union with 14 percent of its natural gas needs.

Garcia-Margallo further indicated that “Spain is the largest EU economic partner of Algeria,” adding that his visit “aims at boosting bilateral cooperation through continuing dialogue.”

He concluded “Algeria and Spain regularly exchange views on regional and international issues, including the situation in Libya, Egypt and Syria.”

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88 injured, 29 arrested in Madrid as anti-austerity march turns violent

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Protesters clashed with police in Madrid as thousands of people trekked across Spain to protest austerity which they claim is destroying their country. Under the banner “no more cuts!” the protesters called for an end to the government’s “empty promises.”

Police arrested at least 29 protesters following the clashes which took place after the march. According to emergency service, 88 people were injured – 55 of them police, El Mundo newspaper reports.

Protesters were seen throwing stones and firecrackers at police. According to witnesses, officers used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

Clashes broke out during a final speech at the demonstration when protesters tried to break through a police barrier. Riot police took charge by beating protesters with batons, AP reported.

“The mass rally was coming to an an end when reportedly a group of younger protesters, who had masks on their faces, started throwing rocks at the police. Police tried to push them away from the parameter that they organized around this area,” RT’s Egor Piskunov reported from Madrid.

“They (police) tried to push them (protesters) away from these police fences and then we started seeing firecrackers being thrown at police and reportedly authorities started firing rubber bullets at the protesters. As a result, there are injuries on both sides and several people have been arrested as well.”

“I can confirm that there is very heavy police presence in this whole district. Since it is the center of Madrid, there are lots of luxury hotels in this part of town and security here is very tight,” he added.

Six “columns” of trains, cars and buses, as well as bands of pedestrians have travelled from Extremadura, Andalusia, Valencia, Murcia, Asturias, Galicia and Aragon, among other Spanish regions, to converge on Madrid in mass protest this Saturday. The demonstration itself has been dubbed 22-M, Marches for dignity.

Eight groups of activists are expected to move into the Spanish capital at different points throughout the course of the day. As a precautionary measure, the Madrid authorities have closed roads in the center of the city and asked people to use public transport whenever possible on Saturday. In addition, the Spanish authorities have deployed 1,650 riot police to keep the situation under control in Madrid.

The protest movement is demanding an end to the so-called Troika-style cuts in Spain, more jobs and affordable housing.

“Why am I here? I’m sick of this government. With all the promises they never fulfill. They said they were going to create more jobs and lower the taxes but it’s a lie! Instead, unemployment rose from 4 to 6 million. This is the only way we can fight back,” one of the protestors, who had been on the road since March 9, told RT correspondent Egor Piskunov.

A large proportion of the protesters who have made their way on foot to the Spanish capital are unemployed and plan to camp in Madrid until their demands are met.

“There are too many reasons: my sons have to work every day from 8 in the morning to five of the next morning only for 400 euros per month! Also I’m a teacher and I know what cuts in the public sector mean,” said another activist. “All these evictions – this is insane. I’m marching to Madrid because I can’t walk to Berlin or Brussels. We must stop them and the Troika!”

Hundreds of people are evicted from their homes every day in Spain. The General Council of the Judiciary reported that 49,984 forced evictions had been carried out across the country last year, which averages about 185 a day.

The number of evictions reached an all-time high in Spain in 2012 with over 500 a day, according to a report by the BBC. This combined with an unemployment rate of 26 percent, the second highest in Europe after Greece, has left many Spanish citizens with nowhere to turn. This is reflected in the growing number of suicides in the country, with the country’s National Institute of Statistics estimating that at least 8 people take their lives every day in the country.

Pepe Caballero, one of the organizers of the protests said the Spanish government is trying to return Spain to the Franco era.

“What the government wants is to go back to the Franco years and keep the working class from demonstrating in the streets and saying what our main problems are. We won’t allow that to happen and they know it,” Caballero told RT, adding that the protest movement will change Spain from the “bottom to the top.”

At the beginning of this month, the Spanish Minister of Employment Fatima Banez said that Spain had finally pulled itself out of the recession and registered economic growth. However, the Spanish Union of Workers dismissed Banez’s announcements as “government propaganda.”

Anti-austerity demonstrators crowd into Colon square as they take part in a demonstration which organisers have labeled the "Marches of Dignity" in Madrid, March 22, 2014

Anti-austerity demonstrators crowd into Colon square as they take part in a demonstration which organisers have labeled the “Marches of Dignity” in Madrid, March 22, 2014

via 88 injured, 29 arrested in Madrid as anti-austerity march turns violent — RT News.

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MADRID : Big protest in Spain against government austerity

People gather during a protest against the Government in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Thousands from different parts of Spain marched towards the Capital to join a large anti-austerity demonstration, demanding the resignation of the Government and to express their anger at government financial cuts, its housing rights policies, and the high unemployment rates

MADRID — Tens of thousands of demonstrators from across Spain have marched in central Madrid to protest government measures they claim have eroded civil rights in the country.

Six columns of protesters — each from a different region of Spain — arrived at the outskirts of the city early Saturday before heading for Colon square, carrying banners bearing the slogan “Marching for Dignity.”

By late afternoon, Madrid’s principal boulevard, Paseo del Prado, was packed with people chanting against government’s austerity policies and the cuts they have entailed.

The protest includes trade unions, civil servants and organizations representing people evicted from their homes for not being able to make mortgage payments after losing their jobs.

One woman carried a banner saying, “My daughter can’t be here because she’s had to emigrate.”

The Olympian.

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