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The Autonomous Region of Navarra is situated in the north of Spain at the western end of the Pyrenees, where it shares a frontier of 163 kilometres with France. It covers an area of 10,421 km² and is bordered on the east by Aragon (Huesca and Zaragoza provinces), to the south by Aragon and La Rioja and to the northeast by the self-governing Basque Region (Álava and Guipúzcoa provinces).
The great geomorphologic, bioclimatic and human diversity of Navarra is usually broken down into three regions, from north to south: the Mountain Region, Central Zone and ‘La Ribera’ (the plains along the River Ebro). However, this division is not sufficient to describe the contrasts that are present within them; these three regions are, in turn, subdivided into local areas.
Thus, the Mountain Region is made up of the north-western Atlantic climate zone, the Pyrenean Valleys and the foothills of the Pyrenees; the Central Zone comprises Tierra Estella and West Central Navarre; lastly, the southern areas, on the banks of the Ebro, are separated into the ‘Estellesa’ and the ‘Tudelana’ basins.
The city of Pamplona and its conurbation are growing at the expense of the rural areas.
The population of Navarra reached 605,022 inhabitants in the January 2007 census, which means that the region has grown by 3,148 inhabitants compared to the population in January 2006, in other words by 0.52%. These are provisional figures from the draft population census published by the National Institute of Statistics.
The demographic growth of Navarra has been slower than the national average and population density continues to be low.
Growth in the main conurbations, especially Pamplona and its metropolitan area, has been at the expense of those areas that are mainly comprised of small, rural communities. Despite the fact that the urban areas of Pamplona and Tudela make up more than half of the population, Navarra still has more than 900 towns and villages, of which 67% have less than a hundred inhabitants.
The Pyrenean Valleys, Tierra Estella and West Central Navarra have been losing inhabitants since the beginning of the 20th century. This has also been happening, although less significantly, in the north-west of the region; population has increased only in the south and in the Pamplona area, where the majority of the population of Navarra is concentrated.
42.3% of the population lives in communities of more than 20,000 inhabitants, 39.2% in communities with between 2,000 and 20,000 inhabitants and 18.5% in communities of less than 2,000 inhabitants.
In recent years, as has been happening all over Spain, Navarra has become a reception area for immigrants. Most of the influx has settled in and around Pamplona and the rest is spread out across the whole of Navarra, although mostly in the southern third of the region.
The Constitutional Law for Reintegration and Improvement of the Regional Government of Navarra (1982) expressly states the ability of Navarra to maintain, establish and control its own fiscal system, provided that it is in keeping with international agreements and national taxation policy.
Within the ideological notion of an administration that is close to its citizens, the Public Administration is based on principles and general criteria such as transparency, efficacy, efficiency, quality, participation, cost, promptness, prevention, responsibility and universality. In 2005 this philosophy of governance was embodied in the ‘Regional Law for the Evaluation of Public Policy and the Quality of Public Services’.
Navarra has 3,636 km of roads, 209 km classed as motorways and expressways, 540 km of main roads, 457 km of regional roads and 2,427 km of local/municipal roads.
The main network has a radial structure, which fans out to neighbouring regions and to France. The road connections with San Sebastián-France, Vitoria-Bilbao and Zaragoza-Barcelona are by motorways and expressways. Likewise, the expressway linking Pamplona with Estella and Logroño (‘Autovía del Camino’) is already complete, as is the improvement to the Pamplona-France road via Irún. Moreover, the expressway from Pamplona to Jaca/Huesca has already been started and another high-capacity route for the Pamplona-Tudela-Medinaceli-Madrid axis is currently being built.
Aware of the strategic importance of its road communications, the regional government is developing guideline plans for roads (currently in the guideline plan for 2002-2009), with the objective of creating a modern and safe road network that consolidates Navarre as a major communications crossroads between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. In the Ebro Valley corridor this will mean that all its inhabitants will have road access to the rest of the country and better connections with neighbouring regions.
Navarra has rail links with Madrid, Barcelona and other towns on the 175-km-long Zaragoza-Alsasua line. A high-speed link through the Navarra corridor is planned to connect to the Madrid/Barcelona line to the south and the European network to the north.
As far as air transport is concerned, Navarra has an airport at Noáin, just south of Pamplona, with several flights a day to Madrid and Barcelona, as well as to other destinations.
The airport has an outline investment plan to respond to the increase in traffic, which is currently over 300,000 passengers per year.
Navarra is one of the richest regions of the 27 countries that make up the EU, in 38th position to be precise, with a GDP of 129.2 (100 being the European average).
Navarra has therefore gone up six places in the Eurostat rankings, (from 44 to 38) of the 271 regions. Eurostat data recently published for 2005 indicate an annual increase for the region of 2.5 points on the European scale, rising from a GDP per capita of 126.7 to 129.2, in comparison with the European index of 100 across the 27 member countries.
According to Eurostat, Navarra is among the top 14% of wealthiest regions. Overall, Spanish GDP is 3 points above the European average (103%).
For 2005, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per inhabitant in Navarra at current prices (€24,761 - initial estimate) is above the national average for Spain, at 119.6%.
According to the annual accounts for 2000 (the most recent available), and taking into consideration that the GDP is the result of the aggregation of the Gross Value Added (GVA) and tax on products, made up in turn by Value Added Tax (VAT) and import and other special taxes, the economic structure for Navarra and Spain is reflected in the following graphs.
Source: Regional Accounts for Navarre. Institute of Statistics of Navarre.
Further information on the employment and economic situation at Portal del Gobierno de Navarra.
Navarra has one of the lowest employment rates among the Spanish regions.
The significant economic advances in recent years have meant that, in 1999, the Region of Navarra reached a GDP per capita figure, measured in terms of comparative consumer spending power, five percentage points above the corresponding figure for the European Union as a whole; meanwhile, Spain, which has also advanced in terms of actual convergence with the Union, is nevertheless still 18 points below.
As a consequence, Navarra is part of the group of self-governing regions in Spain with the best indicators of social well-being: in medical care, home comforts, culture and leisure.
Source: Chamber of Commerce of Navarra
Over the last forty years, Navarre has experienced a profound socio-economic transformation. The industrial take-off of the sixties —made possible to a great extent by the Industrial Promotion Plan of the Regional Government from 1964 onwards— prompted a shift from an agriculturally-based economy —which occupied half of the economically active population— to a balanced, dynamic economy, typical of a modern region.
This panorama set the basis for the current situation of Navarre’s economy, whose main assets are a balanced productive structure, an excellent strategic location, good infrastructures, strong foreign-oriented policies and tax independence. Industry has been the main driver of this transformation.
Navarre began its industrial deployment in the seventies. Thus, in the Gross Value Added (GVA) structure of Navarre for 2000, the industrial sector represents 31.8% of the region’s total compared to a figure of 20.9% for the whole of Spain.
The significant development of services over the last two decades, in line with the growing presence of the tertiary sector in advanced economies, has not reduced the strong industrial trait of Navarrese economy during the first years of this century.
[For more information on the region, please consult the Navarre Government Portal].