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Spanish report Spanish report
by Euro Reporter
2012-12-28 12:18:45
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DNA Tests for Illegal Immigrant Children

Spain plans to take DNA samples from illegal immigrant children arriving in the country's North African enclave of Melilla to make sure the adults accompanying them are their parents. Authorities suspect many North African immigrants seeking Spanish residency claim children are theirs because families have a better chance of success and they live in better conditions while waiting.

Melilla Interior Ministry spokeswoman Irene Flores said Thursday officials are waiting for judicial approval before enacting the DNA testing plan. Children who are not with their parents would be put under the care of the Spanish state. Melilla is a small city surrounded by Morocco. Its immigration centre currently houses 101 children.


Spain's house prices to fall another 30pc as glut keeps growing

Spain's property slump will deepen for much of the next decade, and tracts of buildings along the Mediterranean coast will have to be demolished, the country's top consultants have warned. RR de Acuña & Asociados expects home prices in Madrid, Barcelona and other major cities to fall a further 30pc in a relentless slide until 2018, but it may be even worse in sunbelt regions where 400,000 Britons either live or own homes. Fresh losses could reach 50pc and drag on for 10 to 15 years in those places where construction ran wild during the bubble, bringing the total decline from peak to trough towards 75pc. "The market is broken," said Fernando Rodríguez de Acuña, the group's vice-president. "We calculate that there are almost 2m properties waiting to be sold. We have made no progress at all over the past five years in clearing the stock," he said. "There are 800,000 used homes on the market. Developers are sitting on a further 700, 00 completed units. Another 300,000 have been foreclosed and 150,000 are in foreclosure proceedings, and there are another 250,000 still under construction. It's crazy." The overhang is vast for a country with 48m inhabitants and annual demand near 200,000. It is coupled with an outflow of workers and the start of an aging population crisis. The government says the housing market has already "touched bottom" after falling 30pc since 2008, even though premier Mariano Rajoy admits that there will no economic recovery until 2014.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts contraction of 1.3pc next year, while Citigroup and Nomura both expect the depression to continue into 2014. The unemployment rate is 26.2pc and rising. As a member of the eurozone, Spain no longer has the monetary levers to engineer a soft landing for "nominal" house prices. This makes it much harder to break the vicious cycle of debt-deflation. The property sector and the banks are each dragging the other down. The share price of nationalised Bankia fell 14pc on Thursday after the authorities said the lender is worthless, with "negative value” of -€4.2bn (-£3.5bn). Bankia will need a further €13.5bn of taxpayer funds, taking the total to €18bn. Some 350,000 small investors - many talked into buying Bankia's preferred shares as a form of saving - have lost their money. Banco de Valencia fell to €0.09 after state rescue fund (FROB) said it would seize 99.9pc of the company before selling it on to CaixaBank, a total wipe-out for shareholders. El Confidencial reported that bank rescue costs will push the budget deficit to 9pc of GDP for 2012, far above the original EU target of 4.5pc, later modified to 6.3pc. There has been scant improvement since 2009, when the deficit peaked at 11.2pc. The IMF says the deficit is still stuck at 7pc even if bank costs are stripped out. It warns against austerity overkill, arguing that too much fiscal tightening can be self-defeating in a regional slump without offsetting monetary stimulus. New research by the Fund suggests that Spain's "fiscal multiplier" may be three times higher than originally assumed. Mr Rodríguez de Acuña said Spain's property crisis varies enormously by region, with the worst damage on the Club Med belt. Even so, recent fire sales in the inland city of Toledo have shocked analysts.

Santander recently slashed prices by 60pc to clear a backlog of properties. When Banco Sabadel followed shortly after, it had to offer haircuts of 70pc. Another large bank suspended its Toledo sales two weeks ago after prices went into meltdown. "We think prices will recover in the traditional coastal areas like the Canaries or Malaga within five to eight years, but for now banks are offering huge discounts and nobody is calling. Marbella has already fallen by 50pc and prices are going down and down," Mr Rodríguez de Acuña said. "In places like Castellon [near Valencia] where over-development was mad, banks are not financing anything and there is a high probability that these properties will never be sold. They will have to be knocked down," he said. Spain's bank rescue from the EU bail-out fund (ESM) is bringing the crisis to a head quickly, and brutally. Brussels insists that Madrid crystallise the losses in the portfolios of the rescued banks, ending the "extend and pretend" policy that has concealed the full gravity of the crisis until now. The big trio of healthy banks - Santander, BBVA, and Caixa - have all rushed to sell their backlog before the state's "bad bank" unloads its holdings. They have already written down 95pc of the value of their land portfolio. "There is little more to lose," said Mr Rodrigues de Acuña.


Evictions become focus of Spanish crisis

After a record number in 2012, evictions in Spain have become the symbol of a crisis that shows no signs of improving. Next year isn't likely to be any better, but with more attention now being paid to those losing their homes; relief in the form of legal reform may soon be on the way. Joan Peinado Garrido, 59, can't sleep at night and he's lost his appetite. He takes various medications and has resumed stuttering when he's upset. The frail man gently guides his 86-year-old mother, María José, from the tiled kitchen to the living room.

The old woman uses a cane and is dependent on her son's help for more than just walking. For half a century, the family has been living in the white corner house at 52 Avenida Mediterránea in the town of Vidreres, near the provincial capital of Girona northeast of Barcelona. Now, Peinado has to vacate his home -- and he has no idea where he, his unemployed daughter Mireilla, 28, his seven-year-old grandson and his mother will find lodging. It smells like cleanser in the house. The floors of the kitchen and bathroom are sparkling clean, and the wineglasses are arranged in neat rows in the living room glass cabinet. Grandson Marc has created a nearly perfect circle with his toy cars in front of his bed. His grandfather sleeps on a nearby cot. There are no boxes or other indications that the family is about to move.

Some 400,000 eviction proceedings have been opened in Spain since 2007, with roughly half of the families involved having already lost residential properties due to foreclosures. For most of them, these were their homes. Now, in the fifth year of the financial crisis, the evictions have become an iconic image of the country's economic plight. During the first six months of this year alone, the Consejo General del Poder Judicial, which oversees and organizes the Spanish judiciary, registered 94,502 repossessions -- and the evictions reached a record 532 a day during the first half of 2012.

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