News from Spain Links: 30/04/2012


Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly. (Francis Bacon)


  • Future cyber wars: The BBC tells of the possible effects: “Sophisticated cyber attackers could do things like derail trains across the country…They could cause power blackouts – not just by shutting off the power but by permanently damaging generators that would take months to replaceBBC


  • Foreign investors fleeing Spain We saw this last week and today we have new data. €62 billion in foreign investment (in government debt) have fled Spain in the last three months… Cotizalia
  • S&P downgrades 11 Spanish banks After downgrading the Kingdom of Spain last week, it is logical they’ve done this, given how intermeshed the vicious Spanish debt circle is… Expansión
  • Swapping Merkozy for Merkajoy? The following article suggests the Merkajoy (Merkel + Rajoy) formula might be being set up to follow through with Europe’s harsh austerity programmes, on the eve of Hollande’s victory in the French presidential elections… El Confidencial
  • Schauble. Spain is amazing. And, just like that, a German finance minster appears on the scene and calls Rajoy’s harsh cuts “amazingEFE


  • Spain in recession again: the official, official figure is out from the national statistics office: –0.4% in the first quarter, which is the second in a row, which means we’re officially in another recession. INE
  • Ibex 35 stock index is depressed: it ends April down 12.4%, its worst month since November 2010, having reached as far down as its very worst moments in March 2009. Cotizalia
  • De Guindos wants knowledge: how do you change the economic model of a country from ‘bricks to knowledge’—as Economy Minister de Guindos has suggested—by slashing spending on Science, Education and R&D? El Mundo
  • Problems in Immigrant Detention Centres For the first time, in the midst of a story about the death of an inmate, and with other inmates injuring themselves to avoid deportation, Spanish media have been allowed to visit one of Spain’s Immigrant Detention Centres. El Mundo
  • Spanish airports don’t work: not only do we have too many airports in Spain—there are more than 50—but the ones you might think work better don’t work. Which ones work least? Madrid’s Barajas and Barcelona’s El Prat. Both generate multi-million euro losses. ABC
  • A free transport system? Perhaps that’s why the Spanish government has announced a soon-te-be-announced plan to further liberalise the Spanish transport and infrastructure industry. We shall know more on Friday… El País
  • Christopher Gamble

    Its so much better. It was getting too doom and gloom and without advice/examples on contingency planning it was getting a bit on the dark side.
    There’s an emphasis on ‘positive’ Spain in expat media circles lately and this, out of context, of the backdrop of the economic situation, doesn’t go down smoothly with those that are caught up in financial crisis either although its a great start as initially there was a reluctance to talk about the problems facing Spain. It could be that being open about these issues is a better, more effective way of rebuilding trust amongst target audience?
    The objectives of setting the scene for a positive Spain are sound too.
    How do we all get through these times? What should our strategies be? What should Spain do and what is being done? How will it affect us? How do we find solutions to:
    Mass exodus of talent
    Euros leaving Spain
    Spain downgraded again
    Lost generation of employees
    Institutionalised regional corruption
    Bureaucratic strangle hold
    The underground economy
    Educational reform
    Property surplus
    What will be the long term effect, short term effect on peoples’ lives and how do we best get through it?
    I also feel your emails are a bit ‘flat’ and a simple thing like a headlines in colour would possibly make the email more attractive/interactive.
    A fantastic achievement and fascinating to observe how you have developed your hard work.

  • Matthew

    Thank you Christopher!

    Yes, it is very easy to get lost in doom and gloom nowadays, with all this news. I think people misinterpret it as pessimism on my part, when I just think we need to be absolutely realistic about where we’re at and which course we’re on. Call it stoic realism if you like. I try and adopt a country-wide perspective to weigh stories up, so a couple of new start ups or LinkedIn opening a new office in Madrid—compared to 5.6 million unemployed people or the IMF saying this isn’t going to be fixed until 2023—don’t really register. I think we’re still having problems describing the problem and today’s world, never mind designing realistic solutions (this is a problem for the whole world as well right now, not just Spain).

    That’s part of the reason I’ve updated the format: it’s important to think about Spain, changing, towards an uncertain future, that everyone is having trouble coping with right now, at the level of nations and societies. But there are options, it is possible to ‘design’ the societies we want to live in and that we want for our children and grandchildren. We’re just going to have to do some serious thinking about it first.

    Strategies are a good focus, so are systems and statistics. We must generally think better about everything, first to understand where we are, then to work out some decent solutions. The list of problems, as you rightly point out, is now very long and very complex.

    Coloured headlines…!? Good idea! That’s something we can do right away :-). See what you think. Small victories…