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Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

Andrew Dowling – ‘Winter is Here’. The Growing Erosion of Civil Rights in Spain

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Thanks to Matthew Rose, the Editor of „Brave New Europe“ for the generosity of letting us cross-post their articles and for his mindfulness (hfk)

The Catalan crisis has now taken hold of Spanish national politics. What once seemed a regional conflict has exposed cracks in Spain’s democratic facade.

Andrew Dowling, Senior Lecturer in Catalan and Spanish History at Cardiff University. He is the author of ‘The Rise of Catalan Independence. Spain’s Territorial Crisis’ (Routledge)

The Catalan crisis that grew over the autumn of 2017 has now spread, implicating other areas of the Spanish state. Although the Spanish authorities have obtained a clear victory over the forces of Catalan independence, and have contained the challenge, this has been achieved at a high price. The increasing politicisation of the major institutions of the state is eroding the democratic patina of Spain. Europeanisation and embedding democracy were once the main strategic objectives of Spain after the death of Franco in 1975. For most of the period since then, the country gradually achieved both but the economic crisis since 2008 placed the main institutions of the country under severe strain. Yet, by the general election of June 2016, with the failure of democratic renewal led by Podemos to breakthrough, and the return to power of Spain’s conservatives, the Partido Popular, it seemed the state had managed to successfully resist the call for meaningful reform and change. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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What the Price of Iberian Ham Tells Us About Spain’s Economy

Posted by hkarner - 20. Februar 2018

Date: 19-02-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Spaniards are shaking off one of the country’s worst downturns in decades and splurging on goods recently considered extravagant

RONDA, Spain—The latest sign of Spain’s bullish economic recovery?
A surge in ham prices that some are calling a bubble.

Cheered by strong economic growth, Spaniards are shaking off one of the country’s worst downturns in decades and splurging on goods recently considered extravagant. That includes the ultimate Spanish gastronomic luxury: free-range, acorn-fed Iberian ham.

On a recent morning, José Manuel Jiménez Laguna, a pig broker, fielded calls from farmers eager to buy Iberian piglets at prices that are 40% higher than a year ago. A 50-pound, purebred Iberian piglet, which produces high-quality jamón ibérico de bellota, sells on average for around €115 ($143) vs. around €83 at the same time last year.

Iberian pigs that graze on acorns produce meat that has a special marbling and taste, which fetches a higher price.

What the Price of Iberian Ham Tells Us About Spain’s Economy

“The prices are astronomical!” Mr. Jiménez Laguna told a rancher over the phone while driving between farms near Ronda in southern Spain. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Federal Spain in a Federal Europe

Posted by hkarner - 3. November 2017

Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, is President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament and the author of Europe’s Last Chance: Why the European States Must Form a More Perfect Union.

In politics, there is no shame in compromise. Quite the contrary: When a choice must be made between a constructive bargain and ideological purity, it is always better to choose the path of unity, however small the steps may be.

BRUSSELS – I have always been a profound admirer of Spanish democracy, but especially since February 23, 1981. On that dramatic day, Colonel Antonio Tejero attempted a coup d’état against the young democratic regime.

In his acclaimed book Anatomía de un instante (The Anatomy of a Moment), Javier Cercas describes how, under the threat of Tejero’s pistol, three Spanish political leaders sat upright in their seats, refusing to hide under their benches. Not one of them – Communist Party leader Santiago Carrillo, Adolfo Suárez, the first prime minister of post-Franco, democratic Spain, and Suárez’s deputy, General Gutiérrez Mellado – blinked. It was an act of courage and determination that anchored democracy forever in the soul of Spain. Under the pistol of Tejero, Spanish democracy was born. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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International Mediation is Not the Answer in Catalonia

Posted by hkarner - 15. Oktober 2017

Ana PalacioAna Palacio, a former Spanish foreign minister and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, is a member of the Spanish Council of State, a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States.

Since Catalonia’s referendum on independence on October 1, regional leaders and their sympathizers have called repeatedly for international mediation between the Catalan and Spanish governments. But external mediation would pose a severe threat to democracy and the rule of law – and not only in Spain.

MADRID – On the evening of October 10, Catalonia’s separatist president, Carles Puigdemont, stood before the regional parliament to deliver what was widely expected to be a unilateral declaration of independence. But he ended up offering a fudge. Despite asserting “the mandate that Catalonia become an independent state in the form of a republic,” he proposed “suspending the effects of the declaration of independence to undertake talks in the coming weeks.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Catalan Question and the Future of Europe

Posted by hkarner - 6. Oktober 2017

By Tom Holland, Gavekal Research
October 2, 2017, Mauldin Outside the Box

Yesterday the world was treated to the unedifying sight of the national police of a democratic state using violence in an attempt to prevent peaceful crowds of citizens from voting. If any investors still believed that the electoral defeat of the far right earlier this year in the Netherlands and the election of Emmanuel Macron in France had resolved the structural forces working to fragment the European Union, yesterday’s footage from the unofficial independence referendum in Catalonia will surely have disabused them.

Although Catalan independence in any meaningful sense remains highly unlikely in the near term, Madrid’s clumsy response to Sunday’s vote guarantees that the secessionist sore will continue to fester. With a lively cyclical upswing under way in the eurozone, that may not bother investors too much in the near term. However, the weekend’s events in Spain underline how neither Europe’s national governments nor its supranational institutions have yet to offer a workable formula to counteract the political forces working to drive the EU apart. That failure threatens to add considerably to the risk premium on European assets when the next cyclical downswing inevitably sets in. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Eurozone Growth Spreads, Helped by Dutch, Italian Economies

Posted by hkarner - 17. August 2017

Date: 16-08-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Currency area is becoming less reliant on Germany and Spain

The Dutch economy overtook Spain’s as the fastest growing of the eurozone’s five largest members, boosted by exports of its products which include cheese from Edam, near Amsterdam.

The eurozone’s recovery was more rapid than first estimated in the three months to June as a pickup that started in Germany and Spain has spread to other parts of the currency area, aiding a comeback that is proving vital to the world economy.

The European Union’s statistics agency Wednesday raised its measure of eurozone economic growth during the second quarter to 2.5% annualized from its first estimate of 2.3%, bringing it closer to the 2.6% recorded by the U.S., which it outpaced in the first quarter.

That upgrade comes at an opportune moment, since the U.S. is growing more weakly than expected and there are signs China may be set for a slowdown.

Separate figures showed the Dutch economy surged during the period as exports jumped, while Italy recorded its strongest six months since the second half of 2010. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What’s Really Behind the Eurozone’s Economic Turnaround

Posted by hkarner - 15. August 2017

Date: 14-08-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Simon Nixon

Many economists may have underestimated the role of improvements to the supply side of the eurozone economy

It is now four years since the start of the remarkable Spanish economic recovery. Yet at the time, few saw it coming. Back in July 2013, the International Monetary Fund forecast that it would take until 2018 for Spanish economic growth to barely scrape above 1% while unemployment would remain above 25% for five years.

In fact, the Spanish turnaround had already begun: Growth exceeded 1% in 2014 and has been above 3% ever since. In that time, Spain has created more than two million jobs, bringing the unemployment rate down from a peak of 26.2% to an eight-year low of 17.2% today. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Spanien schreibt Hilfsgelder für Banken ab

Posted by hkarner - 19. Juni 2017

Jan Marot aus Granada, 19. Juni 2017, 17:28 derstandard.at

Die Nationalbank sieht keine Chance, Gelder zurückzuholen. Bei Banco Popular rollt eine Klagslawine an

Sie sind futsch. Rund 60,6 Milliarden Euro, die Spanien zwischen 2008 und 2014 für Bankenrettungen aufwandte. Wie aus einem 257-seitigen Bericht der Banco de España (BdE) hervorgeht, sind mehr als 80 Prozent der Hilfsgelder (gesamt 76,4 Mrd. Euro) nicht mehr zurückzuholen. Die Restrukturierung des Finanzsystems mündete in einer Konzentration. Von 45 Sparkassen und Banken zum Auftakt der Immobilienkrise sind neun übriggeblieben. Die „großen drei“, Banco Santander nach der Notübernahme der Banco Popular, Erste-Bank-Aktionär Caixa Bank und BBVA, halten über die Hälfte der Marktmacht. Die Filialzahl sank von 45.000 auf 31.000, die der Mitarbeiter gar um 73.000. „Der Sektor ist besser für künftige Krisen gewappnet“, heißt es im BdE-Bericht, der zum Auftakt der parlamentarischen Untersuchung über die Bankenkrise publik wurde.

Santander sprang ein Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Bullish again: Spain’s reforms point the way for southern Europe

Posted by hkarner - 17. Juni 2017

Date: 15-06-2017
Source: The Economist

Having tackled its problems earlier than Italy or Greece, Spain is now seeing results

ON A back road in the Llobregat valley west of Barcelona, amid a jumble of old wine-growing villages and modern factories, stands a research centre owned by Gestamp, a Spanish firm that in just two decades has become one of the world’s leading makers of car body-parts, doors and bonnets. With 100 plants in 21 countries and sales last year of €7.5bn ($8.4bn), Gestamp is a specialist in hot stamping. This process makes parts six times more resistant than if they are cold-stamped, allowing cars to be safer, lighter and less polluting. What was once mere metal-bashing has become a high-tech operation.

Gestamp invests 3.8% of its sales in research and development, and holds more than 900 patents. “We are working on cars that will only go into production in five or six years’ time,” says Juan José Matarranz, one of the 58 scientists and engineers at the research centre. Alongside, in a factory equipped with robots, laser-cutters and high-temperature forges, Gestamp churns out parts for shipment to Ford and Audi in the United States as well as for SEAT’s large plant down the road at Martorell. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe Faces Dilemma Over Fiscal and Banking Rules

Posted by hkarner - 25. Juli 2016

Date: 25-07-2016

Source: The Wall Street Journal By SIMON NIXON


A crisis of legitimacy lies at the heart of two major EU standoffs coming to a head this week, Simon Nixon writes

The European Union’s central crisis is one of legitimacy. The EU is primarily a system of legally binding rules agreed among governments and enforced by a supranational court. But what happens when a sizable number of citizens decide EU rules are harmful to their interests—or worse, prevent national governments from fulfilling their duty to protect their citizens?

This crisis of legitimacy lay at the heart of the Brexit referendum, particularly regarding EU rules that require the U.K. to allow any EU citizen to live and work in Britain. It also lies at the heart of two major standoffs due to come to a head this week concerning three countries still grappling with the effects of the eurozone debt crisis: What sanctions should the EU impose on Spain and Portugal for flouting the eurozone’s fiscal rules; And should Italy be allowed to inject public money into its banking system without applying EU bail-in rules to bondholders? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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