Spain Has the Cheapest Electricity in Europe
Spain’s electricity, usually among the most expensive on the continent is now officially the cheapest in Europe. Rising prices for households and traders have led to the Spanish government’s creating measures to bring costs down and protect vulnerable consumers from being left without power because they cannot afford to pay their bills. But in the meantime, the price per megawatt per hour (MWh) has dropped to the lowest in the European Union, at €65.90. This is largely due to a fall in renewable energy production across the continent due to a sudden drop in temperatures, with minus figures overnight being registered in several countries north of the Pyrénées, compared to our warmer nights. Spain’s wind and solar power production is also now among the highest in Europe. Electricity bills went down in October and have done so again this month, but current bills are still 1.7% higher than in November 2017.
Spanish Cities “On Trend”
Three cities in Spain are the top ‘trending’ neighbourhoods chosen by European tourists this autumn and winter and Madrid and Barcelona are not among them. Always favourites for European city breaks, Spain’s capital and its second largest city respectively win the most tourists beyond the country’s coasts, and are highly-appreciated for their beautiful architecture, cleanliness, and the fact they are among the safest major metropolitan areas in Europe. But according to research by Airbnb, five districts in Valencia, Sevilla and Granada are where European travellers say the have most enjoyed their trips here.
Brexit and Gibraltar
The European Commission has agreed on the draft Political Declaration on the future relationship between the European Union and the UK, an essential document for the “Brexit” deal that is due to be signed off on Sunday at a European summit. The document, which is 26 pages long and has 147 articles, has been given preliminary approval by the UK. The text now excludes any reference to Gibraltar after Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, said he would not sign off on the agreement if Article 184 within the text was not modified to make clear that negotiations on the future of the EU-UK relationship would not include Gibraltar. Instead, Madrid wants separate, bilateral negotiations on Gibraltar after Brexit, covering issues such as the price of tobacco products, cross-border workers, environmental concerns and cooperation on police and border control issues. Madrid and London reached preliminary agreements on these points this week, set out in four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and a tax deal.
Spanish Economy Looking Good
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a report on Spain praising its economic recovery, but warning that “several downside risks are clouding the medium-term outlook.” In its annual report the IMF said the Spanish economy is posting growth above the European average, creating jobs and improving the private sector. But growth is increasingly sluggish, unemployment remains high at 14.6%, and public debt is still close to 100% of GDP. The report comes a day after Brussels warned about the risk of Spain missing its budgetary goals after examining Madrid’s 2019 budget blueprint. The EU executive is particularly concerned about the planned increase in spending, and efforts to make structural adjustments, which it views as insufficient.
The project to remodel the landmark Gran Vía avenue in Spain’s capital Madrid has been completed after nine months of roadworks. The new Gran Vía now features more space for pedestrians, new traffic lights, wooden and stone benches and two fewer traffic lanes. Work on the capital’s most famous street began in March and cost €6.5 million, it is the first time the street has been overhauled in its 100-year history.
Top of the Chinese Class
New data from the Chinese embassy in Spain shows that over 200 primary and middle schools in Spain have set up Chinese lessons, and more than 50,000 people are learning the language here. The numbers taking the Chinese Proficiency Test exam put Spain in first place among the member states of the EU.
Spain in Space
Spanish scientists have joined in the celebrations after the latest Mars probe – InSight – successfully landed on the Martian surface this week. The probe, which completed it’s 300-million-mile journey on Monday afternoon, confirmed touchdown and the start of it’s two year mission on the red planet. The Spanish Centre for Astrobiology supplied wind sensors on the craft, as one of a number of European partners on the NASA mission.