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Spanish report Spanish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-02-22 08:35:58
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Spain creates Food Security Cofinancing Facility Trust Fund

Spain has established a new €300 million fund targeting rural poverty and food security, the country's Foreign Affairs Minister announced today on the occasion of the International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) Governing Council. Minister Trinidad Jiménez García-Herrera said the Spanish Food Security Cofinancing Facility Trust Fund will consist of a €285.5 million loan from the Government of Spain combined with a grant of €14.5 million to be committed during the years 2011 and 2012. The loan maturity will be 45 years, including a grace period of five years, with funding to be aligned with the policies and practices of IFAD.

"Spain's contribution will ensure immediate and reliable resources that will enhance IFAD's ability to reduce rural poverty and create income opportunities for smallholder farmers," said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD. The Trust Fund will provide additional resources especially for those countries in which there is demand in excess of available IFAD funding and where there is an urgent need for investment in the areas of agriculture and food security.

The financial arrangement between IFAD and Spain will be part of a more comprehensive strategic partnership framework and complements the six-year Partnership Agreement signed in November 2007. In recent years, Spanish development cooperation has undergone rapid reforms. The country, which has long been a leader in development efforts in Latin America, expanded its geographic focus to other regions and has increased development funding in an unprecedented manner. Spain's Master Plan for 2009-2012 explicitly calls for the establishment of strategic agreements with multilateral institutions in a variety of sectors.


Spain challenges new Basque pro-independence party

Spain's attorney general says a new Basque independence party is a repackaged version of the armed group ETA's banned political wing Batasuna and he will ask judges to deny the party legal status. It is up to a special section of the Supreme Court to decide on legalizing the new party called Sortu, which unveiled its charter last week and insists it rejects ETA violence.

The attorney general's office said in a statement Friday that police investigators believe Sortu is a continuation of Batasuna, which was banned in 2003 on grounds it is part of ETA. Sortu wants legal status so as to field candidates in Basque local elections in May. ETA declared a cease-fire in September and went further in January by calling it permanent.


Discrimination stops working mothers in Spain from having greater kids

The difficulty of juggling work and family life has placed Spain among the countries with the worst employment discrimination record against working mothers. 85% of working mothers in Spain select not to have another child for fear of being discriminated against in the workplace. This is one of the conclusions of a study by the "Acción Familiar" foundation, which has been published in a new book -  "Women and Equal Treatment. Analysis of motherhood in the European Union" - which will be presented tomorrow in Madrid and compares data on motherhood in Spain with other EU countries.

The study, based on data from the National Insitute of Statistics Institute (INE) and Eurostat, claims that 51% of working women have no children and most of them cite difficulties in juggling work and family life as the leading reason for being childless. The author of the book, María Teresa López, explained that one of the leading reasons for working women in Spain not to have children is the fact that working hours are "too inflexible and too long", and are hard to coordinate with school hours. In addition, the women surveyed said they were "afraid of losing their jobs" because, according to López, "the announcement of a pregnancy may well be seen as a problem for the company."

The tendency for women to leave the labour market as the number of children increases is present in all European Union countries, but the study reveals that it is higher in Spain.  Thus, the employment rates of women with large families (three or greater children) in Spain are "much lower" than in other EU countries. 49% of Spanish women who work do not have children, 27% have one child, 20% two and only 4% have three or greater. According to López, Spain is "among the lowest positions in the European Union in terms of levels of protection" for working mothers, along with Portugal and Greece. By contrast, "Norway, Finland and Denmark give support to mothers, because they consider it essential for economic growth," a role mannequin López supports. Paid maternity leave in these countries last for but as numerous as a year, compared with 16 weeks in Spain, and part-time contracts for the first years of the child's life are much greater frequent. In Spain, protection policies are "virtually nonexistent," said Lopez, who has made an appeal to extend maternity leave.

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