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TRAVEL NEWS

Spain trucker strike sparks supply chain tensions

An open-ended strike by some Spanish lorry drivers over mounting fuel prices has triggered supply chain problems in Spain, leaving several sectors struggling to cope, businesses said Thursday.

truck strikes
Truck strikes in Spain. Photo: ANDER GILLENEA / AFP

The strike called by a small truck driver union began on Monday, with protesters demanding action over the soaring cost of diesel they said was leaving them in a “catastrophic” situation.

By Wednesday, it had mushroomed into multiple roadblocks and protests, mainly in the country’s ports as well as industrial and commercial zones.

Spain’s main business lobby CEOE and CEPYME, which represents small and medium-sized enterprises, said such “violent and anti-democratic acts” were “causing serious harm to the supply chain in industry, business and the food sector”, all still struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This situation only exacerbates the difficulties facing Spanish firms across the board… due to out-of-control energy costs, which have been worsened by the conflict in Ukraine”, they said.

They demanded “urgent” government action to ease the impact of soaring prices on companies.

Spain’s national federation of dairy industries, FENIL, said the strike had forced several of its members to halt production.

Milk is a “primary food product which is perishable and… needs to be collected every day”, which can only be done with the “free circulation of trucks”, FENIL’s director Luis Calabozo told Spain’s RNE radio.

The government itself called for an end to the strike. “We are seeing acts of violence by a minority who are blocking other truckers working to ensure the supply of foodstuffs and other primary materials at a very difficult moment,” tweeted government spokeswoman Isabel
Rodriguez.

Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez said: “In a democratic country, we cannot allow violence and force to prevent people who want to work from working.”

Since the end of last year, there has been growing social discontent in Spain over runaway annual inflation, which jumped to 7.6 percent in February, its highest level in 35 years.

The crisis has prompted the UGT and the CCOO, Spain’s two biggest unions, to call a national strike on March 23rd, while the far-right Vox has urged people to join nationwide protests on Saturday.

On Wednesday evening, the government said it was going to take steps to reduce the price of energy and fuel, but did not spell out how.

READ ALSO: Spanish government vows to lower energy prices

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is on a European tour to lobby for a common EU response to soaring energy prices.

Madrid has for months urged its European partners to change the mechanism which couples electricity prices to the gas market, but its pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears, despite support from Paris.

Should Sánchez’s mission fail, Madrid will adopt its own measures to ease the situation.

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TRAVEL NEWS

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Britons, Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will not be able to visit Spain for tourism for at least another month, Spanish authorities have confirmed.

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel (including tourism) from most third countries for another month, until June 15th 2022.

That means that non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the past six months cannot go on holiday to Spain during the next month. 

Therefore, Spain continues to not accept negative Covid-19 tests from British, American, Canadian, Indian or other third-country nationals who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered. 

There had been hopes that the shorter two-week extension to the ban on non-essential travel issued on April 30th, as well as talk of the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, would mean that unvaccinated third country nationals would be allowed into Spain in May.

But in the end, Saturday May 14th’s state bulletin confirmed that Spain will keep the same measures in place for another 31 days, stating that they “will eventually be modified to respond to a change of circumstances or to new recommendations in the context of the European Union”.

Spain’s ban on unvaccinated non-EU travellers is arguably the last major Covid-19 restriction in place in the country, and other EU countries such as Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are allowing unvaccinated tourists in.

This latest announcement by the Spanish government marks the umpteenth extension to non-essential travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area over the past two years of the pandemic, the previous one was due to expire on May 15th. 

But perhaps this extension is the most surprising, as the Spanish health ministry has modified its rulebook to treat Covid-19 like the flu and the country wants to recover the tourism numbers it had pre-pandemic.

The ban affects unvaccinated British tourists in particular, as the UK is still the biggest tourism market for Spain, but Britons’ non-EU status means they have to follow the same Covid-19 travel rules as other third-country nationals.

Vaccinated or recovered third-country travellers

Those who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than two weeks prior to travel to Spain will need to show a valid vaccination certificate with an EMA or WHO approved vaccine.

If their initial vaccination treatment was completed more than 9 months ago (270 days), they’ll need to show they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot. 

As for non-EU/Schengen travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, they will need to show a recovery certificate to prove this

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or RAT, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”, as well as being issued by the relevant authorities.

Exceptions

In early February, Spanish authorities also decided to start allowing unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teenagers aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain for tourism if they provided a negative PCR.

Spain continues to have a small list of low-risk third countries whose travellers visiting Spain for non-essential reasons can enter without having to present proof of Covid-19 testing, recovery or vaccination. 

This is updated weekly and can be checked here by clicking on the PDF under “risk and high risk countries/areas”. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated or recovered, the exceptions for travel to Spain from third countries that fall under the non-essential travel restrictions are:

  • You are a resident in the EU or Schengen country.
  • You have a visa for a long duration stay in an EU or Schengen country.
  • You work in transport, such as airline staff or are in a maritime profession.
  • You work in diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military or civil protection or are a member of a humanitarian organisation.
  • You have a student visa for a country in the EU or Schengen zone.
  • You are a highly qualified worker or athlete whose work cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  • You are travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.
  • You are allowed entry due to force majeure or on humanitarian grounds.
  • And as mentioned earlier in the article, if you have a vaccination certificate that Spain’s Ministry of Health recognises, as well as for any accompanying minors (unless they’re under 12 years of age).

READ ALSO: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

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