The Spanish Challenge: 28/03/2012

Hello loyal reader,

If I had to tell you the story of Spain over the last few hours, this is what I would say…


**Can Spain give its children a future by 2030?** In Spain, there are currently around 5.4 million unemployed people, which is 23.3% of the working population, according to Eurostat. Spain is in its second recession in five years and GDP growth for 2012 is forecast to be -1.3%. Even if someone comes up with a plan by 2014, Spain won’t recover until 2030.
([…keep reading and comment here][dailycomment])


1. **BUITER: SPAIN TO BE RESCUED IN 2012**. Yesterday it was HSBC’s chief economist. Today it’s the turn of Willem Buiter, Citigroup chief economist and former Bank of England member: “*Spain is likely, in our view, to be pushed into a troika (EC, ECB, IMF) programme of some kind during 2012*” ([Business Insider][buiter])

2. **MONTI DENIES SPAIN IS A PROBLEM**. The Italian prime minister now says that: “*Spain, I’m sure, is on a steady course of budgetary consolidation…And contagion as a whole, I hope, will soon belong to the past*”. You know what happens when politicians open their mouths to speak in such a manner. ([Reuters][monti])

3. **A SPANISH INDUSTRIAL POLICY?**. A senior—Spanish—executive at German carmaker Volkswagen has said in an interview with ABC that: “*Spain needs a massive industrial policy and it needs to bet on those industries which are capable of contributing to economic and social growth in Spain.*” That means he thinks we don’t have one already, of course. ([ABC][vw])

4. **EUROVEGAS MATCH THIS WEEKEND**. No, here in Spain we prefer get-rich-quick schemes to long-term investment in profitable industries. That is why there is more expectation over the result of the brawl between Madrid and Barcelona this weekend for who gets the shiny new Eurovegas mega casino project than for the wise words of the Volkswagen executive. ([El País][eurovegas])

5. **430,000 SPANIARDS TO BE EVICTED BY 2016** Meanwhile, a new eviction forecast has been published; 430,000 Spanish families are set to be kicked out of their homes by 2016, if the rhythm of mortgage foreclosures we’ve been seeing since 2010 continues. *That* is a national drama. ([Público][430000])

6. **GRAPH OF STRIKES AND UNEMPLOYMENT SINCE FRANCO**. So we know where tomorrow fits in to modern Spanish history, El Mundo has kindly published a nice useful graph which compares the passing of time since Franco died, the unemployment total and the occurrence of general strikes. Tomorrow’s general strike will be the 7th since 1978. ([El Mundo][grafico])

7. **V FOR VENDETTA STUDENTS**. Just like extras in the film V for Vendetta, Barcelona students have cut traffic on the AP-7 motorway in a pre-strike protest against government cuts. And, yes, they were wearing white masks so they wouldn’t be identified. ([Vendetta][vendetta])

8. **15M, THE STRIKE AND THE PUERTA DEL SOL**. We now know the big march in Madrid tomorrow will end in the famous Puerta del Sol central square. The lads/socialist scum/brave anti-capitalist fighters from the 15M group have organised a Giant Collective Siesta to mock the riot police, pillows and pajamas included.([Intereconomía][sol])

9. **A LETTER OF SCIENCE REACHES PARLIAMENT**. A group of scientists has taken a copy of an open letter defending science in Spain to the parliament in Madrid. It has been signed by 43,000 people. Will any of the politicians read it? ([El Mundo][ciencia])

10. **REDEFINING THE SPANISH WOMAN**. Must be careful here, of course, but Justice Minister Gallardón has made a brave attempt: “*the freedom to choose maternity is what makes women authentically female.*” The socialist reply has been very quick: “*A woman is no less of a woman for not being a mother, and nor is a man more intelligent just because he’s a minister.*” ([El País][mujer])

Thanks for reading.

Regards from Murcia,