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Andalusia unveils plans to become Spain’s least bureaucratic region

Hundreds of official processes are set to be simplified in Andalusia, the southern region’s president announced Tuesday, as a means of attracting investors and ridding the region of the "bureaucratic hell and obstacle course" that plagues it. 

Andalusia's president Juanma Moreno
Andalusia's president Juanma Moreno wants to "unravel the bureaucratic tangle that unfortunately we have in our land". Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

Andalusia’s Governing Council has given the green light to its new Decree Law of Administrative Simplification.

This will reportedly simplify 330 official processes in the region relating to everything from the environment, tourism, education, agriculture, fishing, housing, ports, energy, European funds, health, professional associations, transport or urban planning.

A total of 80 laws and other regional decrees will be modified and simplified in what’s been dubbed “the most ambitious measure ever proposed in the history of the region” by regional president Juanma Moreno.

This, together with the simplification of 400 processes in two previous decrees in 2020 and 2021 “make Andalusia the least bureaucratic region in the country” and put a stop to the “bureaucratic hell and obstacle course” that discourages investment, startup creation and more jobs, the Junta leader added. 

Although the Andalusian government has not yet given full details on all the official processes which will be simplified, it’s a case of “unravelling the regulatory tangle that unfortunately we have in our land” for Moreno.

In practice, it will mean fewer documents are required for permits, that processes are scrapped altogether or simplified in order to make the region’s economic and bureaucratic machine flow faster and with more ease.

In a July 2021 article, national newspaper ABC asked whether Andalusia had too many public workers: “teachers, health workers, firemen, police officers…they’re professionals that are essential for life in Andalusia. 

“But maybe not so much those who handle documentation for an employment plan, civil servants who file benefits applications, public staff who publish the official regional bulletin” and so on.

In another 2021 ABC article, the right-leaning newspaper criticised the “excessive wages” of some officials in Andalusia and the high number of overfunded yet ineffective publicly-funded projects. 

It’s a well-known fact that Spain can be a nightmare when it comes to bureaucracy, and it’s one of the main pet peeves of foreigners who struggle to understand why getting things done has to be so complicated.

Public administrations and the way official matters are handled in Spain are clearly in desperate need of an overhaul, as getting a civil servant position for many people means a job for life with a high degree of impunity, especially if they hold a high position.

Around 30 percent of the €140 billion in recovery funds that the EU will allocate to Spain will go to the country’s digital transformation, which should help to further simplify official matters in Spain by being able to do much more online. 

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UKRAINE

Why meat prices in Spain will rise if the war in Ukraine continues

Rising cereal prices caused by the war in Ukraine are having a knock-on effect on meat prices in Spain, and things could get worse if the war continues.

Why meat prices in Spain will rise if the war in Ukraine continues

You might not have known that cereals are key to the meat industry, but you may have noticed meat and poultry prices rising on supermarket shelves. The feed eaten by animals, such as pigs, is usually made up of around 20 percent corn, and the rise in cereal prices is now affecting the rest of the food chain, and meat prices in Spain in particular.

Experts are now warning that prices could continue to rise if the war in Ukraine continues. This is because Russia is the world’s main producer of grain crops, a key ingredient in many animal feeds. A continuation of the war could therefore lead to further price increases that could indirectly affect all animal products such as ham, eggs, and milk.

READ MORE: Products that are more expensive than ever due to the war in Ukraine

Meat prices in Spain were rising even before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, and have climbed by 18 percent in the last year. 

The added economic shock of war, though, has caused meat prices to spike: beef prices, for example, have risen by almost 1 percent a week since March.

Jesús, a livestock owner, explained to Spanish outlet La Sexta that feeding his animals accounts for around 80 percent of the cost of production for his business, therefore, if cereal prices continue to climb, so will the price of his product.

This extra cost will then be passed on to consumers in supermarkets. “The [price of the] shopping cart is going up and it is logical, there is no other way to do it, products are going to be much more expensive,” he said.

The conflict-induced price spikes come amid tough economic times in Spain, not only because the country is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because Spaniards have been feeling the pinch of inflation in the last year. 

READ MORE: Products made more expensive than ever due to inflation

Last October, electricity bills were sixty-three percent higher than the previous year, according to statistics from Spain’s Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE). Spain’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) ended 2021 at 6.5 percent – fractionally lower than forecast but still the highest level in almost thirty years.

According to a recent survey by the Bank of Spain, 60 percent of national companies plan to raise their prices in the coming year. 

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