• Spain's news in English

Spain in the spotlight: International Press

The Local · 2 Aug 2013, 14:36

Published: 02 Aug 2013 14:36 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Spain has been the focus of a lot of attention this week because of the train crash in Santiago de Compostela and an appearance in Spanish Parliament by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to answer questions about a slush fund scandal affecting his party.

On top of all that, the situation between Gibraltar and Spain has been unusually tense with long queues at the border between the Rock and its much larger neighbour.

In this article, we take a look at what the international press has been saying about all these events. 

Reactions to Spain's train crash

Spain train crash: the quest for safer travel

In the aftermath of the train crash in Santiago de Compostela, the UK's Telegraph newspaper featured this article about the development of rail safety in the UK. 

The author argued the 2002 roll-out of the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) has been incredibly effective, but that "safety is a relative, not absolute term".  

The journalist also pointed out that the recent accidents in Spain and France were in countries with publicly-operated rail networks, perhaps putting paid to the idea that privatization was to blame for a reduction in rail safety.

How Spain's train tragedy is a blow to national pride

Time magazine chose to stress the economic importance of the AVE high-speed project in Spain.

“Every region in the country wants its own AVE, whether they need it or not,” the news magazine quoted Ricard Riol, president of the Barcelona-based Association to Promote Public Transportation as saying. “It’s become a symbol of economic and technological progress.”

Time also pointed out that high-speed trains were a positive beacon in what is otherwise a pretty dark economic landscape for Spain, and talked about the impact of the accident on a bidding war for new high speed projects in Brazil.

“It’s obvious that there are many interests, including economic interests, on the part of certain companies or suppliers,” said Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the President of Galicia, the region where the train accident occurred. 

“Spain is one of the best in the world in high-speed connections and safety, and many countries might wish that weren't the case.”

Train tragedy

The Economist  focused on Spaniards' "solidarity with the families and friends who had anxiously gathered in the city to discover the fate of loved ones", and said Spaniards were "grieving with dignity". 

The magazine also added that while much of the blame for the accident could be attributed to the driver, many questions about safety would have to be asked.

"Accidents are usually the result of several failures," said the Economist. "The more safety systems there are in place, the less likely it is that all can fail. Yet governments cannot be expected to pay for limitless numbers of systems."

Spanish rail disaster

The UK's Independent focused on the human face of the tragedy in this article about the Santiago train crash. 

"I came for a christening, but now I'm going to a funeral," the paper quoted one person as saying.

An older resident of Angrois, where the accident happened, described initial difficulties in getting help:  "They thought we were joking, so I told a lad to say, ‘For Christ’s sake, tell them there’s bodies lying on the ground’. Then more people showed up and began to call, so they finally came." 

Spanish Prime Minister responds to slush fund scandal

Spain's Bárcenas still has much to explain in slush fund scandal

This piece in the UK's Financial Times ran with a picture of a protester spray painting  "Rajoy (Spanish PM) Thief" during a Madrid demonstration

"While Mr Bárcenas was happy to explain how the slush fund paid out the money, he was far more circumspect when describing who put the money there in the first place, and why."

The journalist also quoted Enrique Santiago, a member of Spain's left-wing IU party, as saying: "Bárcenas took exquisite caution in not implicating the party's most important donors."

Santiago said: "The grave thing about this scandal is that big construction groups were buying politicians for many years."

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy admits mistake over slush fund

Rajoy offered his "fullest defence yet" of his conduct in the slush fund scandal on Thursday, according to the Financial Times.

The business newspaper described the Spanish leader's hour-long speech as "unusually passionate" and focused in on Rajoy's insistence that the opposition was damaging the country's image by highlighting the scandal.

"Why are you undermining the confidence that Spaniards have gained in the markets?,” the FT cited Rajoy as asking Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the leader of the opposition Socialists.

Story continues below…

Rajoy rejects calls for resignation from opposition

The Wall Street Journal described Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as "combative" during his appearance in the country's Parliament on Thursday.

The paper said the session had "done did little to calm the political furor, but neither did it appear to weaken his (Rajoy's) grip on power".

The newspaper also said there had the session "had limited impact", pointing out that Spain's international borrowing costs were lower on Thursday than a fortnight earlier.

The Wall Street Journal also pointed out that most of the bars and cafes showing the session live were almost empty because of Spain's summer holidays.

Tempers flare in Spain Gibraltar stand-off

William Hague turns up heat on Spain over Gibraltar border jams

Problems the delays at the border between Spain and Gibraltar didn't go unnoticed internationally this week.

The UK's Guardian newspaper quoted a UK Foreign Office spokesman saying: "We are aware and very concerned about events at the Spain-Gibraltar border".

The paper also quoted the Gibraltar government's statement on this incident. "This torture has resulted in an ambulance being deployed to treat people with medical conditions. On Friday, for instance, a Spanish man had to be taken to hospital with chest pains."

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain’s Socialists meet to decide on veto
The Socialists are meeting Saturday to decide on whether to lift a veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists gather Sunday for a crunch strategy meeting expected to see the party lift its veto on a minority conservative government and finally unblock the country's ten-month political deadlock.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available