Basques bask in prosperity uncurbed by terrorism

27th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Undaunted by the resurgence of ETA's bloody campaign for independence, the Basque Country last year overtook Madrid as the richest region in Spain.

27 March 2008

MADRID - Undaunted by the resurgence of ETA's bloody campaign for independence, the Basque Country last year overtook Madrid as the richest region in Spain.

According to figures released yesterday by the National Statistics Institute (INE), GDP per capita in the northern region amounted to EUR 30,599, compared with only EUR 29,965 for Madrid. The average for Spain as whole was EUR 23,396.

Extremadura and Andalusia in the south - which are still eligible for European Union regional development funds despite over a decade of uninterrupted high growth in Spain as a whole - continued to bring up the rear in the wealth stakes.

Per capita income in Extremadura was almost half of that in the Basque Country at slightly over EUR 16,000, while the figure for Andalusia was just under EUR 18,300.

The best performing region last year was Aragon, whose GDP climbed 4.6 percent compared with 3.8 percent for Spain as a whole.

The INE attributed this to the push given by the construction sector - where growth was 3 points higher than the average in Spain at 6.9 percent - as the region geared up for the Expo in Zaragoza, which will get going mid-2008.

Preparations for the international event helped boost GDP per capita in the region to more than EUR 25,300, just below Catalonia in fourth place with over EUR 27,400.

[Copyright El Pais 2008]

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