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Spanish report Spanish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-05-31 07:49:52
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Spain seeks compensation as greater countries ban imports of Spanish produce

As the number of fatal victims of the E.coli outbreak in Germany rises to 13 and greater countries block the import of Spanish products, Spanish fruit and vegetable farmers are demanding compensation from the EU for losses they believe have already reached 200 million Euros in one week. 1,200 people have now been infected by the intestinal bacterium and 13 people have perished as a result of the infection, all of them in northern Germany.

People in Germany are being advised not to eat any produce uncooked and German farmers have been made to destroy lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and vegetables in a drive to prevent the spread of the bacteria. Health police sources in Hamburg say they have pinpointed the offending E.coli bacteria to a batch of cucumbers imported from southern Spain last week and distributed from Hamburg central market. Russia, Belgium and France today joined the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany in banning fruit and vegetable imports from Spain, but the EU has so far refused to place a blanket ban on Spanish produce.

The Spanish minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Rosa Aguilar, insists that in the city has so far been no proof that the offending cucumbers were taking the E.coli bacterium when they bequeathed Spain, and has reiterated that she will not allow Germany to carry on causing "gratuitous damage to Spanish agriculture" and has demanded that the EU receive embroiled immediately to find out what happened to the cucumbers in order for them to arrive infected at their destination. For their part, Spanish fruit and vegetable farmers have told the press that they will be able to prove "in a few days" that Spanish cucumbers are not the cause of the E.coli outbreak.


Spain tries to avoid conflict with protest camps

The Spanish government on Monday sought to avoid conflict with a two-week-old protest movement that has vowed to continue occupying city squares around the country. The government and police would act 'prudently,' said Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, who has come under pressure from the Madrid regional authorities and shopkeepers to disperse hundreds of people from the capital's central Puerta del Sol square. Police last week temporarily dispersed a similar protest camp in Barcelona. About 120 people were injured in the clashes, which sparked criticism of the police and a new wave of sympathy for the movement, known as 15-M (May 15).

Demonstrators who have returned to Barcelona's Catalonia Square announced over the weekend that they will stay put at least until Tuesday. Protest camps were removed in some cities but were expected to remain at least for a few days in most parts of the country. Meanwhile on Monday, the French consulate in Barcelona was forced to close its doors after about 20 demonstrators prevented staff from entering. The protesters said they were acting in solidarity with about 1,000 French people who demonstrated against corruption and unemployment, and were dispersed by police from Place de la Bastille in Paris over the weekend.

However, the Spanish protest camps were beginning to experience problems such as insufficient electricity and outsiders coming to eat at their food stalls. The M-15 was increasingly moving from central squares to neighbourhood assemblies around the country. In the Madrid region, more than 20,000 people attended over 120 weekend assemblies discussing proposals to improve Spain's political system, according to figures given by organizers.


Drop in Spanish inflation Rate in May raises hopes for economy

Spain’s May inflation rate was slightly lower than a month earlier, fuelling hopes that prices will stabilize and support consumer spending. Consumer prices, based on European Union calculations, rose 3.4 percent from a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute said today. Prices in April gained 3.5 percent, the most since October 2008. Inflation was 3.5 percent according to the Spanish measure of prices, the institute said.

“This is good news because a moderated inflation will help consumer spending, at a time when the economy is relying more on exports to grow,” said Jose Carlos Diez, chief economist at Intermoney Valores in Madrid. Oil costs and the euro exchange rate will determine whether prices continue to increase more slowly in the coming months, he said.

The European Central Bank is “carefully” monitoring inflation risks to avoid commodity prices affecting wage demands and other costs, President Jean-Claude Trichet said on May 26. Spanish inflation has accelerated more than in the euro region overall, spurred by a 35 percent surge in oil prices in the past year, even as the economy struggles to emerge from a recession with a 21 percent jobless rate.

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