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Valencia: The Ghost City That’s Become a Symbol of Spain’s Spending Woes

Valencia’s extravagant spending over the past few years epitomises all that has gone wrong with Spain

by Fiona Govan

The gleaming metal-clad airport terminal has yet to have a single passenger pass through its doors. Weeds are poking up through the 3,000 yards of virgin runway and above it a shiny new air traffic control centre towers over fruit and olive groves. This is Castellon Airport in Spain’s eastern Valencia region. Eighteen months after it was inaugurated with a price tag of 150 million euros (£130 million) and with no prospect of a commercial flight, it has come to epitomise the vast public overspend that has brought Spain to the brink of seeking a full bailout from Europe.

Over the past decade, the Mediterranean region of Valencia became the beacon of Spain’s new economic grandeur, gorging on cheap credit to embark on vastly extravagant projects. But as the central government announced on Thursday its fifth round of budget cuts and tax increases in just nine months, this region also symbolises all that has gone wrong in the country.

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