World Spain: Politically weakened Sanchez announces the return of football and tourists

20:55  23 may  2020
20:55  23 may  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

Going to Spain this summer is now possible!

 Going to Spain this summer is now possible! Going to Spain this summer is now possible! © saiko3p / 123rf . Hope for holidays abroad is confirmed! Spain follows the example of Italy and Greece, which have announced the reopening of their borders for the summer season. The Prime Minister's announcement aroused the enthusiasm of the many tourists who travel to Spain each year, voted the preferred destination for the French.

Pedro Sanchez, le 20 mai 2020 au Parlement à Madrid © Andres BALLESTEROS Pedro Sanchez, May 20, 2020 at the Parliament in Madrid

The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Saturday the next return of the football championship and tourists foreigners, while it is struggling to have parliament extend the confinement it deems necessary to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The hard part is over (...) We have overcome the great wave of the pandemic", he affirmed during a press conference while Spain, one of the most bereaved countries in the world , counted more than 28,678 dead.

Mr. Sanchez, who does not have an absolute majority in parliament, narrowly obtained the vote on Wednesday to extend until June 6 inclusive of the state of alert, an exceptional measure decreed on March 14.

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The government considers it essential to maintain it in order to continue to limit freedom of movement during the deconfinement planned in phases until the end of June. But this quarantine is increasingly disputed in parliament and in the street, where the mask is mandatory since May 21.

As if to let go of the ballast, Mr. Sanchez announced for "the week of June 8, the resumption of major sporting and professional competitions, and in particular the Liga".

The professional football championship had been suspended since mid-March.

Arrivals of tourists, who had collapsed, will be authorized again "from the month of July". On May 12, the government imposed a two-week quarantine for all visitors until the containment was completed.

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"Foreign tourists can therefore plan their holidays in our country now," he announced.

This authorization is crucial for the second world tourist destination, where the sector weighs 12% of the GDP.

"We will guarantee that tourists do not run any risk and that they do not bring risks to our country either," assured Mr. Sanchez.

The socialist also announced that a minimum living income would be put in place from June, benefiting 850,000 households at a total annual cost of around 3 billion euros.

Spain is facing a brutal explosion of poverty due to the cessation of economic activity due to the pandemic, with thousands of people forced to use food banks for the first time.

- Fragile coalition -

"We are one step away from victory but we must remember that the virus has not disappeared and that we must keep it at bay", he warned, however.

"It is essential (...) not to relax," he warned while thousands of Spaniards demonstrated Saturday by car at the call of the far-right party Vox to demand his resignation for his management of the crisis.

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This government "was unable to protect its people, its elders and their carers", denounced the leader of Vox Santiago Abascal, perched on a double-decker bus in Madrid, in the midst of thousands of cars and two-wheeled vehicles decorated with flags Spanish.

The government of Pedro Sanchez rests on a fragile coalition between the socialists and the radical left party Podemos, which must perpetually seek parliamentary support.

"His biggest mistake was to make a pact with terrorists to decide the health of 40 million Spaniards", criticized among the protesters Marina Samber, 51, an allusion to the agreement concluded Wednesday with the independence party Basque EH Bildu to abstain during the vote on the state of alert.

This party arouses the animosity of many Spaniards who see it as the heir to the Batasuna party, banned for having been the political arm of the former separatist armed group ETA.

An official mourning for ten days in tribute to the victims of the epidemic will begin on Tuesday, also announced Mr. Sanchez.

From Monday, Madrid and Barcelona, ​​the two main centers of contagion in Spain, will be able to reopen terraces of bars, hotels and museums, with strict limitations on the number of customers, thus joining the other regions which had already started deconfinement there two weeks ago.

The most advanced areas, 22 million Spaniards, will take the next step, with the reopening of beaches, swimming pools and cinemas.

emi / avz

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