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WHAT CHANGES IN SPAIN

NEW LAWS: Everything that changes in Spain in October 2022

From VAT and tax cuts, a new citizenship law, a change to Spain's Covid travel restrictions, the latest on UK licences, a round-up of festivals and plenty more, become a member to find out about all the key changes in Spain in October 2022.

what changes in spain october 2022
A VAT cut on heating bills, eased travel restrictions and stormy weather are just of the changes to expect in October 2022 in Spain. Photo: Ina Fassbender, Jaime Reina, Mustafa Ozer/AFP

Drop in income tax for low earners

The Spanish government is set to reduce the income tax for people earning up to €21,000 gross ($20,200) per year, Budget Minister María Jesús Montero announced on September 29th.

Although it hasn’t been confirmed, it is likely to be retroactive from January 1st 2022 as the IRPF slash will apply to this year’s income tax declaration, which is carried out in 2023.

Spain’s Personal Income Tax (IRPF) is a state tax, but half of its collection is controlled by the autonomous communities. As such, each region can change its income tax brackets, which apply to the 50 percent of IRPF collected by the regional governments.

The Valencian Community is among the regions which will also lower their income tax for taxpayers, in this case for those earning under €60,000 gross a year. Other regions including Madrid, Murcia, Galicia, Andalusia, the Basque Country and Castilla y León have also implemented regional income tax cuts in recent days, and more are likely to follow. 

Spain’s new sexual consent law comes into effect

October 7th brings the enforcement of a government bill toughening the country’s rape laws by requiring explicit consent for sex acts.

In essence, the law reforms Spain’s criminal code to define rape as sex without clear consent. Crucially, that removes the need for rape victims to prove that they resisted or were subject to violence or intimidation.

READ MORE: ‘Only yes means yes’: Spain edges closer to passing new sexual consent law

“Consent is recognised only when a person has freely demonstrated it through actions which, in the context of the circumstances of the case, clearly express the person’s will,” says the bill.

The proposed reform comes after of a notorious 2016 gang rape of an 18-year-old woman by five men at the bull-running festival in Pamplona, northern Spain.

VAT cut on gas bills

In yet another bid to ease the pain of the cost-of-living crisis, the Spanish government has introduced a new cost-cutting measure which aims to decrease the amount both residents and small businesses will pay on their gas bills this coming winter.

The VAT cut, which comes into force on October 1st, will also apply to other items used for heating such as pellets, briquets and wood as the price of said biofuel products has also increased considerably in the lead-up to the winter months. 

READ MORE: How much will Spain’s gas VAT cut save me per month?

Bottled butane gas has not been included in the new measure, but its price has been frozen at €19.55 per canister.

The reduction will mean monthly savings for an average user of between €5 and €19, depending on how much they use and the type of contract they have, according to consumer associations.

Overall, the Spanish government estimates the move will represent a save of €210 million for the Spanish population. 

Clocks change

It’s that time of year again. The evenings begin to get darker a little earlier – and the clocks go back. In 2022, the change will come in the early hours of Sunday, October 31st, when daylight saving time officially ends and wintertime begins. To be specific, the change comes at 3:00 a.m. on the morning of the 31st of October.

READ MORE: Why Spain is still in the wrong time zone because of Hitler

Fourth Covid vaccines for the over-80s

October will also see the ramping up of the second Covid-19 booster roll-out for people over 80’s and those in care homes, a campaign which also includes the flu vaccine for those who wish to have it. 

As planned, the campaign has started in all Spanish regions on September 26th, except for in Andalusia, where it will begin on October 3rd.

The vaccines to be used will the new inoculations developed by Moderna and Pfizer against the Omicron BA.1 sub-variant, serums approved by the European Medicines Agency on September 1st. 

In Andalusia the Covid-flu vaccination campaign starts on October 3rd, in Aragón and Navarre on October 10th, in the Balearics on October 13th, in Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia and Castilla y León all on September 26th, whereas in the remaining regions the date for the double vaccination campaign is not yet known.

READ MORE: Spain starts fourth Covid vaccine rollout for over-80s

UK driving licences saga to continue as anger grows

As many of you will know by now, UK driving licence holders who have resided in Spain for more than six months have not been able to drive since May 1st. Five months later and there still isn’t a deal within close sight.

The latest update from UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott on September 27th has done little to quell the anger and sense of helplessness felt by those caught in this bureaucratic rabbit hole.

“There is a lot going on behind the scenes, even if it doesn’t feel like it to you,” Elliott insisted. “I know too that you want a timescale and you want an update after every meeting, but I’m afraid I just can’t give you those things in this negotiation.” 

READ MORE: UK driving licences in Spain – When no news is bad news

A Facebook group called “Invasion of the British embassy in Madrid for the DL exchange issue” has since been set up where members are threatening to stage a protest in mid-October unless the matter is soon resolved. 

So, will October bring a major change to the licence exchange debacle? Progress may well be made in terms of negotiations, but the legislation has to be approved by several branches of the Spanish government before it actually comes into force, and keeping in mind the speed at which bureaucracy in Spain usually moves, it is unlikely to be streamlined in the next 30 days.

Domestic workers law

Following a ruling by the EU’s Court of Justice (CJEU) and pressure from trade unions, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez adopted a reform is to introduce a bill aimed at ending the “discrimination” suffered by these workers.

READ MORE: The new rules for hiring a domestic worker in Spain

Under the changes, which come into force on October 1st, domestic workers are now entitled to claim unemployment benefits and cannot be dismissed without justification.

They will also be covered by healthcare “protection” and be able to access training to improve their “professional opportunities” and job conditions.

Grandchildren’s citizenship law

A law that makes it easier for the children and grandchildren of Spaniards to gain citizenship will be debated in the Spanish parliament in October.

The bill, also known as the Historical Memory Law, proposes that the children and grandchildren of Spaniards (born in Spain) can gain Spanish citizenship without needing to live or be resident in Spain for any minimum period of time.

“Those born outside Spain to a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, who would originally have been Spanish, and who, as a result of having suffered exile for political, ideological or belief reasons or sexual orientation and identity, have lost or renounced Spanish nationality, may opt for Spanish nationality, for the purposes of article 20 of the Civil Code,” the text of the proposed bill states.

READ ALSO: How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Spain

Covid temperature checks for travellers ends

The Covid-19 pandemic is still affecting international travel to Spain – especially if you’re from a non-EU country. 

On Tuesday September 20th, Spain scrapped the requirement from all international passengers arriving by air or sea in the country to complete and show a Covid health control form.

Now, on October 20th, Covid temperature controls and visual checks will be scrapped, sources from Spain’s state airport manager Aena told Spanish daily El Periódico.

READ MORE: Do tourists still need Covid documents to travel to Spain?

However, it is important to note that non-EU tourists such as Britons, Americans, Australians, Canadians or New Zealanders still have to show one of three documents to be able to enter Spain, following an extension of the rule until at least November 15th. These are: 

  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate – Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • A negative Covid-19 test – This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior of departure or an antigen test, taken within 24 hours prior of departure. 
  • A recovery certificate – This must be dated within the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status.

Face masks are also still required on planes which are bound for Spain, but you don’t have to wear one at the airport.

READ ALSO: Do residents still need Covid to travel back to Spain?

October weather forecast

Spain has experienced some extreme weather this summer. With record temperatures, record rains and flooding in the Canary Islands, drought conditions, and flash floods in Murcia, Spanish weather has been changeable and unpredictable in September.

READ MORE: 640 flights cancelled as storm Hermine hits Spain’s Canary Islands

But what’s the forecast for October?

In terms of temperature, the average temperatures are set to be between 4 and 7°C lower than in September, which saw some of the summer heat linger into Autumn. Despite that, forecasts from Meteored suggest that the coming October will be warmer than usual, with temperatures up to 1 ° C above the average.

Expect some rain too as October is normally one of the rainiest in Spain except for a few regions of the country including the Canary Islands, the Balearics, the southern most points of Andalusia and the Upper Ebro.

Forecasts suggest that the rainfall will be primarily focused in the second half of the month, but the southeast and Balearic Islands will experience average rainfall throughout.

What’s on in Spain in October?

The turn in the weather doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot going on in Spain in October. Zaragoza celebrates one of its main fiestas, the Fiestas del Pilar.

Beteen the 4th and 12th of October, the fiestas of San Froilán de Lugo, one of the most popular celebrations in Galicia also takes place.

October is also a great time for foodies in Spain. Galicia hosts its Fiesta del Marisco (seafood festival) and at the end of the month is Castilla-La-Mancha’s Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafrán.

Elsewhere in Spain, October is an artsy month. In Alcalá de Henares, they celebrate Semana Cervantina – a weeklong celebration of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, and there’s a night-time performance of Don Juan in Alcalá.

Fuel prices still high but falling

For drivers, you’ll be pleased to know that petrol prices are steadily falling but still nowhere near the level before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The price of petrol has dropped by 20 percent to €1.70 per litre from the €2.15 price it reached in June (before the government discount) but still 12 percent more expensive than before the war began. Diesel prices have fallen by 15 percent to €1.81 on September 24th, before the government’s 20 percent discount is applied.

READ MORE: REMINDER: How drivers in Spain can get 20 euro cents off every litre of fuel

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SPAIN

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Spain in December 2022

From Christmas festivities and public holidays to the latest on the Startups Law and a new Madrid-Valencia train, become a member to find out about all the important changes in Spain in the last month of 2022.

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Spain in December 2022

Puentes and Christmas holidays

December is of course the month when the Christmas holidays take place, but even before that there are several public holidays to enjoy. These take place during the week of December 5th to the 11th, with Tuesday the 6th being Spanish Constitution Day and Thursday December 8th the Day of the Immaculate Conception. Both days are national public holidays across all regions.

Because of this, many workers decide to take a ‘puente’ or bridge the two public holidays together and take an extra vacation day in between. This could either be taking December 5th as a holiday and having a long weekend from the 3rd to the 6th or taking Friday the 9th off work and taking a break between the 8th and the 11th.

This year Christmas Day, December 25th falls on a Sunday, so the public holiday will be moved to Monday, December 26th in most regions across Spain.

Medicines are getting cheaper

More than 17,000 different types of medications will be getting cheaper in Spain next month, officially coming into force on Tuesday, November 29th. Spain’s Health Ministry estimates that this could save up to €270.89 million – €229 million in hospitals and €41.75 million in pharmacies. The Minimum Reference Price for medicines will now be set at €1.60.

It’s important to remember though, that people will not see the difference in price in the pharmacies until January 1st 2023, as the distributors will maintain the previous sale price until December 31st 2022.

New Madrid-Valencia train

Iryo, Spain’s brand-new third train operator, kickstarted its operations in the country on Friday November 25th with its Madrid-Barcelona route.

On Friday December 16th, it will launch its Madrid-Valencia line (via Cuenca), which takes 1 hour and 53 minutes to complete the journey.

The average cost per one-way ticket is €18 according to Iryo. Tickets are already on sale.

READ MORE: What to know about Iryo, Spain’s newest high-speed low-cost trains

Flying to Spain in December or at Christmas

Airline strikes by Vueling and Ryanair and an increase in passengers could make travelling this winter a little more challenging.

According to Spain’s airport operator Aena, the number of airline tickets sold for travel to Spain over the winter season is set to exceed the number in 2019-2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last winter saw the rise of the Omicron variant and some countries introduced new restrictions, so many foreign residents decided not to go back to see their families over the holidays. This means that this year could see more people wanting to return after several years of not having celebrated together with their families. 

Therefore, airports could be particularly busy this December, so make sure you leave plenty of time for getting through security and passport control.

We have a separate explainer on everything you need to know if you’re travelling to Spain in December or at Christmas, covering the rules, the least busy travel times, the strikes, the free travel deals and what you can’t check in.

 

New law about toy advertising 

From December 1st 2022, Spanish toy makers and advertisers cannot stop feature boys exclusively with cars and soldiers, and girls playing with dolls on their packaging and publicity.

The protocol will prohibit the “exclusive association” of girls with toys that reproduce roles of “caregiving, domestic work or beauty” and boys with “action, physical activity or technology”.

READ MORE: Spain moves to end gender stereotypes in toy adverts

Spain could experience Arctic weather

After such a scorching summer with various heatwaves, plus the hottest month since records began in July and the hottest October on record, perhaps it’s time for Spain to experience a cold snap. Weather experts believe that December could see cold air flow from the Arctic, which will produce extended periods of rain.

The spokesman for Spain’s State Meteorological Agency AEMET, Ruben del Campo said that a cold snap “couldn’t be ruled out” and that the Artic weather could arrive “in the coming weeks”. “Right now it’s impossible to say exactly when and where, though,” he continued.

One effect of this cold snap will be heavier and more frequent rains, more like the amount of rain that was seen in the spring of 2018.

EU to reach a gas deal

At the end of November, the EU agreed to postpone its agreement on a price cap for gas purchases between different member states until December. Spain’s Minister of Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera said that she hopes the European Commission can reach a deal on December 13th at the next meeting of the Energy Council.

The EU originally suggested a gas “safety ceiling” of €275 per megawatt hour as the bloc grapples with high energy prices spurred by Moscow’s war in Ukraine and supply cuts. The only time the TTF gas price has gone above the €275 limit, however, was between August 22nd and 29th this year and Ribera has been very critical of the proposal.

These conditions are designed to particularly satisfy Germany and the Netherlands who are very reluctant to sign a deal.

Events in December

The festive month is filled with all kinds of activities and events in Spain besides Christmas. The Carnavalcázar de Alcázar de San Juan in Castilla-La Mancha will take place, being the only town in Spain to celebrate its carnival in December.  

On December 24th the musical performances of Canto de la Sibila will be held in churches across the island of Mallorca, a tradition which has been inscribed onto UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Then on December 28th, Spain celebrates the Día de los Santos Inocentes (Day of the Holy Innocents), its version of April Fools when people play pranks and jokes throughout the day.

New Year’s Eve or Noche Vieja is also a big deal in Spain, with plenty of parties, family dinners and the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight to bring good luck for the year ahead.

Could a UK licence deal finally become reality?

On November 18th, the UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott confirmed that “two outstanding issues” delaying negotiations have now been resolved. 

“What I can’t tell you today is exactly how many weeks those final steps will take,” he added.

The remaining processes include legal checks, securing ministerial approval on both sides, which for Spain is by the Consejo de Ministros (the Spanish Cabinet), and the necessary treaty processes and formal exchanges, explained Elliott.

“At that point (when the law comes into force) you will then have six months to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one and during that time you will be able to drive using your existing valid UK licence,” he confirmed.

READ MORE: Deal on UK licences in Spain agreed but still no exchange date

Works scheduled on Madrid Metro

Metro Madrid has confirmed that during the month of December it will close line 7 in order to remove asbestos from the tunnels. They will close the station Avenida de América from December 3rd to 18th and a free substitute bus service will run for those commuters affected. 

Other lines that stop at Avenida de América – 4, 6 and 9, will not be affected and will work normally.

The final vote on Spain’s startups law will take place

The final vote on the much-anticipated startups law and digital nomad visa is due to take place on December 1st by the Congress of Deputies. The law was originally proposed back in 2018. 

If it passes, it means that it will enter into legislation before Christmas, paving the way for many startup companies and digital nomads to make their move to Spain in 2023. 

READ ALSO – Spain’s new digital nomad visa: Everything we know so far

Many transport tickets will continue to be free after December 2022

The Spanish government initially stated that multi-journey train tickets would be free across much of Spain on Cercanías, Rodalies and Media Distancia trains from September-December 2022, however, this has been extended into 2023. 

Spain’s Budget Minister María Jesús Montero announced the move in October saying that it will be extended until at least December 2023 when the measure’s economic and environmental impact will be evaluated. 

At the end of November, the Spanish government also announced that many long-distance buses will go from being half-price to free in 2023.

Inflation is showing signs of slowing down in December

Inflation stood at 6.8 percent in November, according to Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) and for the fourth consecutive month it has been falling, since a high of 10.8 percent in July, the highest level seen in 38 years. 

This means that inflation could continue to ease in December, making Christmas shopping just that little bit kinder on our wallets. Of course shopping for Christmas dinner will still be more expensive than in 2021, but will be much more affordable than if we had to buy it in the summer of this year. 

READ ALSO: Which food should you buy early in Spain to save on Christmas costs?

Spain to keep limiting rent increases throughout 2023

The law on limiting the amount landlords can increase the rent by was also due to expire in December 2022, but at the end of November the Spanish government confirmed that this would extend into 2023.

This means that landlords can only increase rent by a maximum of 2 percent throughout 2023, shielding renters from rising inflation.

Prior to this many landlords had the right to increase the price of the rent on a yearly basis based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the figure used to measure inflation.

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