Unemployment is the most important problem for 43 percent of Spaniards, according to a new poll by the European Observatory on Security (Osservatorio Europeo Sulla Sicurezza).
Spain’s unemployment level remains one of the highest in the European Union, at 23.7 percent at the end of 2014. The picture is even bleaker for young Spaniards; 52 percent of under 25s are currently out of work.
Not surprisingly in a country beset by recent corruption scandals, inefficiency and political corruption comes in as the second most important problem for Spaniards 28.2 percent.
The overall economic situation comes in third, with 11.6 percent, followed by the quality of the health system, with 4.9 percent.
Spain is usually praised for its health care system and tops the world’s organ donation rankings.
But terrorism was not considered a big concern for Spaniards with only 3.9 percent saying it was their greatest worry, despite the nation having a history of terrorist attacks.
Eta claimed more than 820 lives in a four-decade violent campaign for an independent Basque homeland before calling a ceasefire three years ago and Madrid was the site of one of the worst terrorist atrocities in mainland Europe when al-Qaeda inspired Islamist cell bombed trains in March 2004 leaving 191 people dead.
Terrorism was ranked a higher concern than immigration, however, with only 1.2 percent of Spaniards chose it as their biggest worry.
Spaniards are generally not so bothered by environmental degradation; a measly 0.9 percent chose it as their main worry. And taxes were not high on the list of worries – only 0.6 percent of Spaniards chose them as their biggest worry, compared to 6.4 percent of Italians and 6.7 percent of the French.
Spaniards have a relatively relaxed attitude towards terrorism when compared to other European countries. It was the most important problem for Germans (23 percent) and the second most important for the French (18 percent) behind unemployment.
Britons were almost as worried about terrorism (15.1 percent) than they were about immigration (17.5 percent) but Italians had other priorities. They were far more concerned by unemployment (44 percent) and inefficiency and corruption (23.4 percent) than by terrorism (1.3 percent).
Spain has recently stepped up its antiterrorism, with both major political parties signing a new pact against jihadism.
The new bill includes tougher penalties for terrorism offences and gives judges and police new powers to prosecute “lone wolf” radicals and those who join armed groups in war zones such as Syria.
Spain’s Interior Ministry recently announced the breaking up of a jihadist cell that had recruited women to join terror group, Isis, with arrests taking place in Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla, as well as in Barcelona and Girona.