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VERIFIED: Is it true these Spanish villages are paying people to move there?

Voice Of EU



Covid restrictions, the advent of remote working in Spain, a new visa for digital nomads and improving internet connections are all currently contributing to making rural Spain a sought-after destination for people around the world.

As a result, a number of popular news sites and media outlets in the UK and US have published articles listing the Spanish villages that are allegedly now paying people to move there in a bid to solve their depopulation problems. 

As The Local Spain has been covering all the latest developments for remote workers in Spain in 2021, the promises of endless offers of free accommodation, work and in some cases money didn’t seem to add up. 

So we decided to get on the phone to the ayuntamientos (town halls) of each of the villages listed in these international media outlets to find out if it was true.  Some of their answers painted a very different picture from what was being suggested in the local and foreign press. 

Ponga, Asturias

The village of Ponga in Asturias. Photo: Carmenmoran / Wikimedia Commons

Reports from across the world have suggested that the village of Ponga in Asturias (northern Spain) is giving couples or families €3,000 to help them settle in, and a further €3,000 for each baby born in the village.

When The Local Spain spoke to a representative from the town hall however, they stated that “the offer hasn’t been available since 2007 and we can’t understand why it’s making headlines again”.

Unfortunately for Ponga, the scheme didn’t work out as planned as there weren’t enough jobs available for the additional families, so many had to pack up and leave.

Rubia, Galicia

Several articles have recently reported that the municipality of Rubia in the Galician province of Ourense (also northern Spain) will supplement new residents’ income by an extra €100-150 per month.

When The Local Spain called Rubia Town Hall, village authorities said that what was being reported in international media “is simply not true”.

Griegos, Aragón

The village of Griegos in Spain’s Teruel province. Photo: Chantejot /WikiCommons

Another village that is reportedly trying to attract new residents with incentives is Griegos in Aragón’s Teruel province (northeast Spain).

Reports stated that Griegos Town Hall would offer three months rent-free to any families willing to move there.

While this was true at one point, a spokesperson from the village of 150 people told The Local Spain that “we have already found families to fill our quota and are no longer offering this incentive”.

A Xesta, Galicia

The hamlet of A Xesta in Galicia. Photo: Simon Burchell / WikiCommons

Other media reports wrote that another Galician village, this time in the municipality of Pontevedra, was trying to attract new residents by offering them reduced rentals from just €100 per month.

The Local Spain tried to reach out for comment from authorities in the hamlet but received no answer.

It also proved impossible to contact authorities in Olmeda de la Cuesta, in the central Spanish province of Cuenca, with reports saying the village has several plots of land for sale for as little as €200 to try and attract people to come and build houses there.

The village of Olmeda de la Cuesta in Cuenca. Photo: Diego Delso / WikiCommons

Camarena de la Sierra

Camarena Camarena de la Sierra, Aragon. Photo: Marcela Escandell / Flickr

Finally, it was recently reported in the Spanish press that the village of Camarena de la Sierra, also in Aragón (in northeast Spain) is offering new residents job offers and help with accommodation.

When The Local called for clarification, local authorities confirmed “this scheme does indeed exist, but places are limited”.

“There is for example an empty bakery with an attached house that someone could move into,” a spokesperson said.

“Each application would be assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on the skills each person has and what they could bring to the village.”


Offers like the ones listed above quickly go viral and as a result end up outdated after very little time, so it may be best for you to do your own research and contact the actual villages if you are indeed interested in a particular place.

If possible, try to call the village ayuntamiento in question to find out the exact conditions or if the offer is still valid. 

There’s also nothing stopping you from pitching to authorities in any village in rural Spain (not just those promoting themselves) a service you can offer in return for lower rent or a free home. It could be English lessons at the local school or setting up a business in their pueblo (village).

Alternatively, there are several Spanish villages that we can confirm are trying to attract remote workers to live there due to their dwindling populations, but they won’t necessarily pay you to move there. 

FIND OUT MORE: The Spanish villages that want remote workers

A total of 30 towns and villages across Spain have joined the Red Nacional de Pueblos Acogedores or the National Network of Welcoming Villages, meaning that the places listed on their website are regularly updated with the latest information and thus are actively looking for remote workers when you carry out your search. 

Before you think about moving to any of these villages, you should also be aware that life in rural Spain has its challenges.

Villages are often underpopulated and those that remain tend to be older, in some places there are increasingly fewer services such as banks, and speaking Spanish is a must.

Read here to find out more about about the pros and cons of moving to a small village in rural Spain. 


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Nphet proposes cap on households mixing over Christmas period

Voice Of EU



The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has recommended that no more than four households should mix over the Christmas period.

Nphet met on Thursday to consider advice for the Government on the latest pandemic situation, at a time when Covid-19 case numbers have stabilised at a high level and further information on the Omicron variant is being awaited.

It last night sent a letter to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly which recommends a maximum of six people at a table in bars and restaurants, the closure of nightclubs and limits on households mixing.

The contents of the letter are expected to be discussed by Ministers and senior officials at a Cabinet sub-committee meeting on Friday.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the Government would move “as quickly as it can” to examine the latest recommendations from Nphet and to decide if further restrictions will be introduced. She said the Cabinet would need to be given time to “look at this advice and take it on board”.

During an interview on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Ms McEntee said the Government had to ensure it was clear about about what it would do in terms of restrictions and why before anything was announced.

“Of course if there are impacts on businesses at any stage of this…I hope people would agree that we haven’t left people wanting,” she said. “We have always responded where business has needed additional income. Where individuals have lost their jobs. We have always provided that support. This won’t be any different.”

Tests for travellers

Separately, the Government has notified airlines that the introduction of a system of PCR and antigen testing for passengers arriving into Ireland has been delayed by 48 hours.

Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU



The measure was due to come into force on Friday, but Aer Lingus said airlines had been informed on Thursday night that the regulations would now begin on Sunday. All arrivals into the State – whether vaccinated or not – will need a negative Covid-19 test result from then onwards.

Those travelling with an antigen test result will need to have obtained it within 48 hours of arrival into Ireland, and it will have to be a professionally administered test.

No self-administered tests will be accepted under rules approved by Cabinet. Those with a PCR test result will have a longer pre-travel window of 72 hours before arrival. Persons arriving into the State from overseas who have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 will be required also to have a certified negative test.

Hospitality sector meeting

Meanwhile, Government members are due to meet representatives of the hospitality industry on Friday. Ministers have said there will be supports for the sector if new pandemic measures will impact on their ability to trade.

Ms McEntee said she was particularly conscious that people had been asked to pull back and to reduce their social contacts.

“I am talking to businesses particularly in the hospitality sector and I know the impact that is having on them. This should be their busiest time and it’s not. We are taking this on board. We are going to support all of these businesses as we have always done during the pandemic,” she said.

The Minister dismissed suggestions that the Government was flip flopping or that there was confusion behind the scenes, saying the State is in a “fluid situation” because of the nature of Covid-19.

“What we have seen with the antigen test is that the market has corrected itself. That wasn’t a matter of flip flops or changing. We simply saw the market adjust itself. It is not about Government changing direction. We have to change direction sometimes because of the nature of this pandemic. Everybody is doing their best here,” she said.

‘Random and arbitrary’

Earlier, Maynooth University professor of immunology Paul Moynagh said the latest restrictions reportedly proposed by Nphet could lead to some benefits but seem ed “random and arbitrary”.

He told Newstalk Breakfast that “big mistakes” have been made with regard to messaging to the public.

“Back in September contact tracing was stood down the reason being that children were missing too much school. But we had the option of keeping contact tracing and using antigen testing. And there has been a resistance over the last year from Nphet in terms of using antigen testing,” he said.

“We saw over the last number of days the reluctance of Nphet again to impress advice from experts in the area of ventilation and air filtration. There seems to be this reluctance to accept scientific advice from outside.”

Prof Moynagh said there was a need to look at this reluctance and “learn from our mistakes”.

“Whereas at the moment it seems that mistakes are made and that narrative is defended. And again we end up now with new restrictions that I am not convinced are going to be very impactful,” he said.

“We know they are going to be highly impactful in terms of the sectors for example. I am not convinced by the strategy that is being used at the moment.”

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Senior figures in Washington stand behind Belfast Agreement and protocol, McDonald says

Voice Of EU



Senior figures in United States politics have made it clear that the government of Boris Johnson in the UK will face negative consequences internationally if it attempts to rupture or dispense with the Northern Ireland protocol, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said.

In a presentation at the National Press Club in Washington DC on Thursday she said the protocol was “necessary, operable and going nowhere, despite what Boris Johnson might wish to believe”.

She said she had met with “people of considerable influence” in the US Congress and in the Biden administration on her visit to the US this week and they all stood four square behind the Belfast Agreement and the protocol.

“I heard yesterday on the Hill the clearest possible articulation across the board that any notion of walking away from the protocol would not be acceptable to the United States.”

Asked about a report in the Financial Timed that Washington had delayed lifting tariffs on UK steel and aluminium products amid concerns about threats by the UK to invoke article 16 of the protocol, Ms McDonald said this was a matter for the Biden administration.

However, she said: “There is no doubt where the US stands. If Johnson believes he can walk away from the protocol, he is wrong and there will be consequences for Britain if he chooses that course of action.”


Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie, who was also in Washington DC on Thursday, said if the lifting of tariffs was being delayed due to concerns about the protocol, he would argue at a meeting with the US state department that it had “got it wrong” in its view on what article 16 was about.

“If people say we have to adhere to the protocol and article 16 is part of the protocol then it becomes a legitimate thing you can use.”

“It is not about whether you should or should not use it. It is about how you should use it.

“You should use it in a narrow sense of a particular issue that is causing economic or societal harm in Northern Ireland, for example, medicines .”

“If the medicine issue has not been fixed and is starting to affect the people of Northern Ireland, it would be right to instigate article 16 to focus minds on that issue.”

Ms McDonald also told the press club event that she expected the United States would “be on the right side” on the controversy over British plans for an amnesty in relation to killings during the Troubles.

She said the British government was going to the ultimate point to keep the truth from the people about its war in Ireland.

She said the Johnson government’s plans would mean “in effect no possibility of criminal action, civil actions or even inquests into killings in the past”.

Ms McDonald also forecast that a point was coming over the coming five or 10 years where referenda would be held on the reunification of Ireland. She urged the Irish government to establish a citizen’s assembly to consider preparation for unity.

She also said “there will be need for international support and international intervention to support Ireland as we move to transition from partition to reunification”.

Separately, asked about a recent Sinn Féin golf fundraising event that was held in New York, Ms McDonald said the money that was raised would be spent on campaigning and lobbying in the US.

She described it as a patriotic expression by people in the US who had a deep interest in Ireland and the peace process.

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Drop in cancer diagnoses as high as 14 per cent during pandemic, early data shows

Voice Of EU



The drop in the number of cancers detected during the Covid-19 pandemic could be as high as 14 per cent, preliminary data has suggested.

A report from the National Cancer Registry said it was still too early to provide “definitive answers” on whether pandemic hospital restrictions last year led to a reduction in the number of cancers diagnosed.

The registry’s annual report said an estimated decrease of 14 per cent in detections pointed to the “potential scale” of Covid-19’s impact on other healthcare.

A separate analysis of data on microscopically verified cancers diagnosed last year showed a reduction of between 10 and 13 per cent, the report said.

The drop in confirmed cancer cases, when compared with previous years, could be partly accounted for by “incomplete registration of cases already diagnosed”, it said.

Prof Deirdre Murray, director of the National Cancer Registry, said there were “clear signals that, as expected in Ireland, the number of cancer diagnoses in 2020 will be lower than in previous years”.

‘Very worried’

Averil Power, chief executive of the Irish Cancer Society, said the organisation was “very worried” over the significant drop in cancers diagnosed last year.

The shortfall in cancers being diagnosed would present a “major challenge” in the coming years, with lengthy waiting lists and disruptions to screening services “all too commonplace” already, she said.

Ms Power said it was frightening to think of the people who were living with cancer but did not know it yet. She added that existing cancer patients were “terrified” of having treatments delayed due to the recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

The registry’s report said there were about 44,000 tumours identified each year between 2017 and 2019.

Not counting non-melanoma skin cancer, the most common cancer diagnoses were for breast and prostate cancer, which made up almost a third of invasive cancers found in women and men respectively.

For men this was followed by bowel and lung cancer, and melanoma of the skin. Lung cancer was the second most common cancer for women, followed by colorectal cancer and melanoma of skin.

Nearly a third of deaths in 2018 were attributed to cancer, with lung cancer the leading cause of death from cancer, the report said.

The second, third and fourth most common cancers to die from in men were bowel, prostate and oesophagus cancer. For women breast, bowel and ovarian cancers were the most common fatal cancers.

The report said there were almost 200,000 cancer survivors in Ireland at the end of 2019, with breast cancer patients making up more than a fifth of the total.

Mortality rates

The research found cancer rates among men had dropped between 2010 and 2019, with mortality rates decreasing or remaining the same across nearly every type of cancer. Rates of cancer detected among women had increased between 2008 and 2019, with mortality rates for most cancers decreasing.

The report said the five-year survival rate from cancer had increased to 65 per cent for the period 2014 to 2018, compared with 42 per cent two decades previous.

There had been “major improvement” in survival rates for most major cancers, however, the research noted the chances of survival varied significantly depending on the type of cancer.

Prostate, melanoma of the skin and testis cancer had survival rates of more than 90 per cent, followed closely by breast and thyroid cancer, and Hodgkin lymphoma. Pancreas, liver, oesophagus and lung cancers had much lower five-year survival rates on average, the report said.

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