Chief Correspondent, Reuters Spain
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Jan 30, 2014

Europe to launch talks to upgrade relations with Cuba

BRUSSELS/MADRID, Jan 30 (Reuters) – The European Union will
agree next month to deepen relations with Cuba in its most
significant overture to the communist island since the bloc
lifted diplomatic sanctions in 2008, people close to the matter
told Reuters.

Foreign ministers from the EU’s 28 countries will give the
go-ahead on Feb. 10 to launch talks with Havana on a special
cooperation accord to increase trade, investment and dialogue on
human rights. The pact could be agreed by the end of 2015.

Jan 16, 2014

Catalonia defies Madrid with push for independence vote

MADRID (Reuters) – Local lawmakers in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia voted to seek a referendum on breaking away from Spain on Thursday, setting themselves up for a battle with an implacably opposed central government in Madrid.

The Catalan Parliament in Barcelona voted 87 to 43, with 3 abstentions, to send a petition to the national parliament seeking the power to call a popular vote on the region’s future.

Jan 7, 2014

Spain no country for judges, says graft case magistrate

MADRID, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Eight months ago Spanish examining
magistrate Elpidio Jose Silva was investigating a sensational
corruption case that briefly landed politically connected former
bank boss Miguel Blesa in jail.

Now Silva, whose job combines the roles of prosecutor and
judge, is organising his own criminal defence after Blesa,
president of savings bank Caja Madrid from 1996 to 2009,
complained he was being persecuted.

Jan 7, 2014

Spain’s Princess Cristina charged with tax fraud, money-laundering

MADRID (Reuters) – A Spanish judge charged Princess Cristina – younger daughter of King Juan Carlos – with tax fraud and money laundering, possibly paving the way to an unprecedented trial of a member of the royal family, the Superior Justice Tribunal of the Balearic Islands said on Tuesday.

After a lengthy investigation, Palma de Mallorca Examining Magistrate Jose Castro said in a 200-page ruling there was evidence that Cristina, 48, had committed crimes and summoned her to appear in court on March 8.

Dec 24, 2013

Catalan public TV shuns Spanish king’s Christmas speech

MADRID, Dec 24 (Reuters) – The Spanish king’s traditional
Christmas Eve address did not air on Catalonia’s public
television on Tuesday for the first time in the broadcaster’s
30-year history, highlighting growing separatist fervour in the
wealthy north-eastern region.

Workers at the broadcaster went on a brief strike during the
king’s speech and other programming was aired instead. The
official reason was to protest cost cuts and outsourcing of some
production. Catalonia has clashed with the central government in
Madrid over cuts on spending on public services.

Dec 24, 2013

Catalan public TV to shun Spanish king’s Christmas address

MADRID, Dec 24 (Reuters) – The Spanish king’s traditional
Christmas Eve address will not be aired on Catalonia’s public
television on Tuesday for the first time since monarchy was
restored, highlighting growing separatist fervour in the wealthy
north-eastern region.

Workers at the broadcaster have called a half-hour strike
for the exact time of the king’s speech. The official reason is
to protest cost cuts and the outsourcing of some production,
part of the independence-minded region’s clash with the central
government in Madrid.

Nov 15, 2013

Madrid calls in emergency workers to clean streets

MADRID (Reuters) – Emergency workers with police escorts will begin cleaning trash off the streets of Spain’s capital on Saturday after striking street cleaners failed to reach a deal with their private employers to end an 11-day strike, city officials said.

Madrid’s streets and parks have piled up with rubbish after thousands of street cleaners walked off the job on November 5 in protest at plans to lay off 1,134 of the city’s 6,000 maintenance workers.

Nov 7, 2013

Scots have kilts, what do Catalans have?

MADRID (Reuters) – When Catalonia’s local language was reintroduced in the northern Spanish region’s schools three decades ago, Nati Grabiel was on the frontlines of the effort, training teachers to educate in the Catalan tongue.

Today, the 72-year-old retired schoolteacher is on another crusade: trying to convince the world that Catalonia should break away from Spain. She and five other pro-independence senior citizens are travelling to the United States early next year to shoot a film that explains Catalan culture and history.

Oct 9, 2013

Spain hails turnaround at oversubscribed long-term debt sale

MADRID, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Spain’s gradual recovery from
years of financial crisis received a vote of confidence on
Wednesday from investors who bought heavily into a new 31-year
government bond despite limited prospects for economic growth
and stubbornly high unemployment.

The sale marked a major improvement from a year ago when
Spain was at the centre of the euro zone debt crisis, paying as
much as 7 percent to sell 10-year debt at auctions that depended
on buying by big Spanish banks and the state pension fund.

Sep 18, 2013

Santander hiring of ex-Bankia boss Rato dismays hard-pressed Spaniards

MADRID, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Santander’s hiring of
Rodrigo Rato, former chairman of rescued lender Bankia
, was met with dismay on Wednesday by those Spaniards
doubtful that any top financier will be held to account for the
country’s banking crisis.

Rato, appointed by Santander to its international advisory
board on Tuesday, is under investigation over allegations of
fraud at Bankia in a court case that could drag on for years.

    • About Fiona

      "Fiona Ortiz is Reuters' chief correspondent for Spain. She has also lived and worked as a journalist in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Portland, Oregon."
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