The Spanish Challenge: 07/03/2012

Hello loyal reader,

Daily editorial comments are back today. The first one is about Spain’s attitudes towards education, science and its young people’s futures…

**THE 300,000: A NATIONAL EMERGENCY AND A NATIONAL DISGRACE**

“How sad, how sad, how very sad. What a tremendous mess Spain seems to be making of its education and R&D policies, and of its attitudes towards science and its young people.

Spain is clearly not capable of offering a dignified future to its children at this point and is about to destroy the very things which in theory should be saving it from total collapse.”

([… read more and leave your comment here][dailycommentlink]).

**TODAY’S NEWS FROM SPAIN**

1. **REGIONAL DEFICIT FIGHT**. The incongruence between Spain’s regional, national and European budget deficit ideas has been picked up by international media today. The New York Times wonders whether Spain can really afford so many mini-states in its regions. ([New York Times][nytimeslink])

2. **GOVT INVESTMENT TO DROP 40% IN 2012**. Economy Minister Luis de Guindos has let slip that government investment will be falling a whopping 40% in 2012. It’s all the socialists’ fault, of course. ([EFE][efelink])

3. **INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT –4.2% IN JANUARY**. Spain’s industrial output got off to a terrible start in January. The unadjusted figure was –2.4%, down across all sectors except in the ‘non-durable goods’ category; Spain appears to have done quite well at producing ‘*vegetable and animal oils and fats*’ this month. This appears to be an improvement, compared to December’s –6.4% figure, but once corrected for the number of real working days in the month, the real figures are –3.5% in December and –4.2% in January. So things are getting worse. ([INE][inelink])

4. **HOUSE SALES DROP 30% IN 2011**. House sales in Spain fell almost 30% (29.3%)in 2011, compared to 2010. Roughly two-thirds of the houses sold were second-hand. ([ABC][abclink])

5. **PETROL PRICES ALREADY UP 9% IN 2012…!**. WTF? Petrol prices in Spain have already risen 9.1% since December 31st!! Diesel prices are also up 5.5% since then. Petrol price rises were already hurting Spaniard’s wallets and it looks like the petrol pain will only continue as 2012 develops. ([ABC][abclink2])

6. **ELECTRICITY PRICES WILL GO UP**. If the electricity companies get their way. They want a 20% increase. They want to do this to tackle the electricity financing deficit problem Spain has. The government needs to decide what to do by the start of April. ([El Economista][eleconomistalink])

7. **ANOTHER €80 BILLION ON PUBLIC WORKS…!?**. Are they mad? Spain’s business leaders, apparently unaware of projects like the Cartagena–VEra toll motorway we saw the other day, which offers a juicy 675–year return on investment, are to petition the Spanish government for a whopping new €80 BILLION public works plan which, according to them, would create 480,000 new jobs. ([La Razón][larazonlink])

8. **CATALAN IN THE CLASSROOM?**. Catalonia’s Supreme Court (yes, there are regional Supreme Courts in Spain) will decide today on whether or not schools in Catalonia must teach their students mainly in Spanish or, as the Catalan government wishes, mainly in Catalan. Several parents’ associations and the Popular Party appealed against the Catalan language provisions in the new Catalan Education Act. ([La Gaceta][gacetalink])

9. **ANOTHER ABORTION FIGHT**. Get ready for the next round of the never-ending pro-life, pro-choice debate over abortion in Spain. Justice Minister Gallardón has said this morning that the defining reference will be a woman’s right to reproduce: “*Many women have their right to be a mother distorted due to the pressure generated by certain structures in their surroundings.*” ([El País][elpaislink])

Finally, for those of you who want some good news from Spain, today we read that…

10. **MERCADONA IS KILLING IT**. In the middle of this long recession, Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona is doing something right. Somehow it managed to increase its profits by 19% last year, to €474 million, whilst creating 6,500 jobs. ([El Economista][eleconomistalink2])

The government should give them a ring and ask them how they’re doing it.

Thank you for reading.

Regards from Murcia,

Matthew.

[dailycommentlink]: http://www.matthewbennett.es/11481/the-300000-a-national-emergency-and-a-national-disgrace/
[spanishchallengelink]: xxx

[nytimeslink]: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/business/global/spain-struggles-to-bring-regional-governments-in-line.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
[efelink]: http://es.noticias.yahoo.com/guindos-adelanta-inversi%C3%B3n-p%C3%BAblica-reducir%C3%A1-40-ciento-2012-095714821.html
[inelink]: http://www.ine.es/daco/daco42/daco422/ipi0112.pdf
[abclink]: http://www.abc.es/20120307/economia/abci-venta-viviendas-201203071006.html
[gacetalink]: http://www.intereconomia.com/noticias-gaceta/cataluna/tsjc-decide-si-espanol-debe-ser-lengua-vehicular-educacion-20120307
[larazonlink]: http://www.larazon.es/noticia/6812-la-ceoe-pide-80-000-millones-para-crear-480-000-empleos-con-obra-publica
[abclink2]: http://www.abc.es/20120307/economia/abcp-precios-gasolinas-intensifican-escalada-20120307.html
[eleconomistalink]: http://www.eleconomista.es/empresas-finanzas/noticias/3801073/03/12/las-electricas-piden-que-la-luz-suba-un-20-para-atajar-el-deficit-tarifario.html
[elpaislink]: http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2012/03/07/actualidad/1331109997_755805.html
[eleconomistalink2]: http://rss.eleconomista.es/c/32496/f/479371/s/1d385e6c/l/0L0Seleconomista0Bes0Cempresas0Efinanzas0Cnoticias0C380A150A0A0C0A30C120CMercadona0Emejoro0Esu0Ebeneficio0Eneto0Eun0E190Een0E20A110Ey0Ecreo0E650A0A0Eempleos0Bhtml/story01.htm