While the Canary Island are part of, and controlled by, the Spanish central government, we have our own political management as well.
The Canary Islands, including Fuerteventura, are politically within the European Union, however, they are outside the European Union customs territory and VAT area. The Canary Islands Special Zone was created within the fiscal and economic regime of the Canary Islands for the purpose of encouraging the economic and social development of the islands, and the diversification of their manufacturing and service sectors.
So what does that mean, and how does it effect you?
Well, being in the EU means that there is free movement for all within EU Countries. It also means that our health system is equivalent to that of the rest of the EU, and that all European residents have the right to free health care.
However, holiday makers in particular must be aware that being excluded from customs territory means that duty free rules apply and there are restrictions on the amount of goods, such as cigarettes and alcohol, that they can be take back home.
As part of the Canary Islands and the EU exclusion zone, Fuerteventura does not have VAT applied to anything. Instead they have a specific sales tax (IGIC), currently set at a general rate of 7%.
Whilst in most cases that would mean goods such as tobacco, alcohol, electronic goods should be significantly cheaper on the islands, the reality is that those savings disappear as goods have to be imported, and the cost of transporting them.