Spanish economy in crisis

| April 30, 2013

Some claim that the average Spaniard holds more wealth than a German. But after the property bubble imploded in 2008, Spain is still suffering from a weak economy and soaring unemployment rates, says Spanish journalist Marta Conejo Sobrino.

I have a confession to make: I am haunted by empty promises of a future due to my condition – I am part of the Spanish lost generation, as some experts call us.

For this reason, when I read words such as those by Armin Mahler, journalist for the German magazine Der Spiegel, on 25 March 2013 in his article Euro Bailouts. Savers be warned – Your Money’s not safe, I am disgusted:

“Nothing is safe from being seized by the state, no savings account, but also no house or apartment. The Germans experienced this after World War II, when they were charged an extra real estate tax in the form of compulsory mortgages. Governments have even banned the possession of gold during currency crises, forcing citizens to exchange the precious metal for the national currency. So far, people in the debt-ridden countries of the euro zone haven’t had such levies imposed on them. But why not? According to a recent study by Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, for instance, Spaniards hold more wealth, on average, than Germans.”

So, let’s say it again: Spaniards hold more wealth, on average, than Germans. Without giving it much thought, I can recall three brief facts, which emphasise Spain’s ‘wealth’:

One: Five million, six hundred thirty-nine thousand and five hundred people in Spain are unemployed.

Two: A labour reform has eased dismissals. When fired, workers are paid a maximum of 20 days per worked-year, 12 months at most. 5,639,500 people are in this situation.

Three: A job-seeker under 30 may be employed, if at all, 40 hours a week for an average of 800 Euros per month ($980.86 per month). After a year-long contract, the Government makes it easier to fire this person and employ a new one.

What was the concept we were talking about? Wealth. Cynical enough, president of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso, defends the defeat of welfare by describing it as an effort of social competitiveness: “I believe”, he said in a speech titled Europe 2020: A blueprint for the Post-Crisis World, “we have come through the worst of the crisis. […] Competitiveness is not an end in itself. It is the means to drive prosperity, to sustain European living standards, European values, our societies, our natural environment, our way of life that we want to keep”.

Thus, austerity measures in order to be competitive will preserve welfare. How do we explain this to the more than 350,000 people evicted from their homes in Spain since 2008?

Marta Conejo Sobrino
Marta Conejo Sobrino holds a Bachelors Degree in Journalism at the University of Málaga; a Masters Degree in Journalism and Communication skills at the Madrid Complutense University and a second Masters Degree in Professional Communication at the University of Sydney, thanks to the European Talentia Fellowship. A strong advocate of the European Union, she previously majored in Political Communication on the Masters of Journalism she completed at the Complutense University, Madrid; presenting her project of thesis on the Lisbon Treaty. @martacs_

0 Comments

  1. kristymoore

    May 25, 2013 at 5:19 am

    Not only Spanish economy in a crisis

    Not only Spanish economy but the whole Europe community is experiencing financial crisis. Things may get worse before they get better in the European financial crisis, Reuters reports. The European Central Bank is pressuring for a joint guarantee on bank deposits across the euro zone, amid worries that bank runs will spread like wildfire as investors head for the hills. Top economic official of the European Commission Olli Rehn cautioned that without added monetary discipline, Europe will descend into a financial chasm.

    • drakeolives

      May 14, 2014 at 8:34 am

      We all know that when crisis

      We all know that when crisis arises, all of us can be greatly affected. Let me share you this. The U.S. USPS continues to be wracked by financial worries, as the agency is regularly short on funds. The Postal service fund payment, a $5.5 billion deposit, is going to be defaulted on and the bureau is scheduled to run entirely out of funds later this year.

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