New Canarian law paves way for large European stores like Lidl to open in Canaries

The Canarian Government has approved a new Commercial Licence Law which in practice paves the way for the big stores like Lidl to operate in the Canaries. The only restriction to granting their licences will be on environmental grounds but these cannot, in any case, be definitive, with businesses able to gain a licence by carrying out required works. The new law overturns the previous restrictive practice of rejecting licence applications on the grounds of negative economic impact on small business or on demographic grounds. The new law will now pass through the usual Parliamentary processes.

The liberalization of the Canarian commercial sector was essentially forced upon the regional Government by judgements of the islands’ High Court as well as the Bolkenstein directive, a piece of EU legislation concerned with free-trade throughout Europe. Needless to say, small and large local business interests here oppose it, but it is now law that other large European businesses can operate in the Canaries. Consumer associations are, equally nedless to say, delighted by the move which removes any doubt that Lidl will now open throughout the islands.

Twelve new Lidl stores are already well underway and are planned to open at the beginning of 2010. In Tenerife they will be at Santa Úrsula, Puerto de la Cruz, La Laguna, Granadilla, Las Chafiras and Adeje. There will also be a large logistical premises in Güimar. LIDL says that the new stores and the Güimar base will mean the creation of over 500 direct jobs as well as indirect employment benefits. At present, 55 staff are already contracted, and more than 450 will be employed towards the end of this year. Canarias24Horas

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