Spain faces a “fundamental challenge” around climate crisis

by Lorraine Williamson
climate change - ecological deficit


MADRID – Anticipating and managing the adverse effects of climate change such as floods, coastal and soil erosion, droughts, heat waves and forest fires “remains a vital challenge in Spain”.

That said the European Commission in a report published on Thursday. To go on to say that Spain is “one of the most affected countries in the EU”. Brussels believes that Spain faces “significant” environmental investment challenges and needs. These are estimated at “at least” 0.83% of GDP in the coming years. 

NextGeneration Funds Beneficial for Spain 

However, the Commission assured that with the approximately €70,000 million that Spain will receive from the NextGeneration funds, it will “improve the application of environmental policy”, as about 40% of the money will be allocated to the effects of climate change. 

Nature 2000 Network 

In this sense, the report calls for “sufficient resources” to be devoted to the protection and management of the Natura 2000 network, where “the degradation of protected habitats dependent on water is also often a concern”. 

“Spain is an exceptional frame of reference within the EU because of its natural capital. This offers opportunities but also carries a special responsibility,” the document states. It recalls that last year the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that there is no correctly applied EU legislation regarding nature and water bodies in the Doñana area. 

See also: The last permanent lagoon in Doñana has dried up 

Brussels also points out that waste management “remains a major challenge”. Spain is one of the countries that has failed to meet the EU target of reducing municipal waste by 50% by 2020. In addition, the report says, the global recycling rate in 2019 was 38%, compared to an EU average of 40%. 


As for hydrological management, “although progress has been made”, the country is still not compliant with the urban waste water treatment directive. This has forced Spain to pay about €72 million as a result of a ruling by the CJEU in 2018. 

“The country continues to face many challenges in the water sector. Especially in water management, water body restoration and water efficiency. More investment in infrastructure is needed in many areas,” the document said. 

Air quality 

The Commission also asks Spain to “rigorously” apply the measures taken to monitor air quality in urban areas. And, furthermore, in general, to “improve” coordination between all public administrations. 

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