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Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

Lessons from Spain’s recovery after the euro crisis

Posted by hkarner - 28. Juli 2018

Date: 26-07-2018
Source: The Economist

Its admirable economic progress could be hobbled by politics

JUST six years ago Spain seemed to be the European Union’s biggest economic calamity, menacing the survival of the euro itself. As it goes on holiday this week, it is in much brighter shape. Thanks to structural reforms and some good fortune, it is enjoying a sustained recovery. Spanish politics has little of the xenophobia common elsewhere in Europe. Forty years after it became a democracy, on issues of personal liberty such as gay marriage Spain feels Scandinavian rather than southern European. Boasting the world’s second-highest life expectancy, a good health service and world-class transport infrastructure, it is in many ways a great place to live.

Yet that is not how many Spaniards see it. The slump in 2009-13 opened wounds that have yet to heal. Spain is still more unequal, has more poor and more low-paid workers than in 2008. Real wages have fallen. Many younger Spaniards have had to delay their plans for a career, a house and children. Politics reflects that. A stable two-party system gave way in 2015 to hung parliaments, as public ire fuelled two newish parties: Podemos on the radical left and Ciudadanos, a centrist party a bit like the one running France. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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Why Italy Is Flirting with Euro Exit and Spain Isn’t

Posted by hkarner - 5. Juni 2018

Date: 04-06-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Spain suffered far more than Italy during the euro crisis, but the major Spanish parties are committed to staying in the common currency

Italy and Spain got new governments last week. But while Italy’s change of leadership led markets on a roller coaster, Spain’s was met with a yawn. The reason: Their economies have followed different paths, and so have their attitudes to the euro. The populists who make up Italy’s new government have toyed with exiting the common currency, whereas all of Spain’s major parties are committed to staying in.

This isn’t what you would have predicted six years ago; Spain suffered far more than Italy during the euro crisis. But it also reformed its economy much more and has enjoyed a much stronger recovery; gross domestic product is now above its precrisis peak. By contrast, Italy’s economic problems long predate the euro, and its failure to fix them has left GDP 5% below its prior peak and voters receptive to radical economic prescriptions. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Aftereffects of Eurozone Crisis Plague Europe’s South

Posted by hkarner - 3. Juni 2018

Date: 02-06-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Spain, Italy and Greece face political, social and economic fallout from bailouts, austerity budgets

ROME—This week’s high-profile political crises in Spain and Italy are making plain the social and economic scars Southern Europe bears almost a decade after the eurozone crisis, destabilizing traditional alliances and feeding political discontent.

In Italy—now home to Western Europe’s largest antiestablishment movement—two large outsider parties are coming to power, bolstered by the votes of millions of Italians stuck in a cycle of stubbornly high unemployment and poverty.

In Spain, a sitting premier was toppled in a no-confidence vote for the first time since the country emerged from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Europe’s longest serving leader, was ousted Friday in the wake of a corruption scandal that proved the final blow for a leader whose support has gradually eroded since he imposed unpopular measures to avert economic disaster in Spain during the eurozone’s debt crisis. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Political Uncertainty in Italy, Spain Roils Markets

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2018

Date: 29-05-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Stocks drop sharply, the euro falls against the dollar and Italian bond yields climb

Political worries about Italy and Spain gripped markets Tuesday, triggering sharp falls in stocks, a drop in the euro and big moves in bond markets.

The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.6% in morning trading, pulled lower by a 3.1% drop for Italy’s FTSE MIB and a 2.7% decline for Spain’s IBEX 35 index. The selloff looked set to spread to the U.S., with futures pointing to a 0.6% opening loss for the S&P 500.

The euro fell 0.6% to $1.1551 from its lowest settlement against the dollar since November, while Italian bond yields continued to climb.

The moves echoed declines in Europe on Monday, albeit in light trading with U.K. and U.S. market participants out for holidays.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella decided Sunday to block the formation of a euroskeptic government, reviving longstanding worries about the broader stability of the eurozone and a political crisis in a country with €2.3 trillion in debt. On Monday, as the two antiestablishment parties protested his decision, Mr. Mattarella picked an International Monetary Fund veteran, Carlo Cottarelli, as prime minister-designate.

“Having priced out the threat of fragmentation on the back of the [European Central Bank’s quantitative-easing program], recent events in Italy suggest the market has now very much begun to price such concerns back in,” strategists at Rabobank wrote in a note. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Andrew Dowling – Has the Podemos moment passed?

Posted by hkarner - 1. Mai 2018

Thanks to M. R.

That Podemos was having difficulties was clear. Its dramatic upward trajectory in the polls and elections had stalled. A plausible and objective  explanation for this development was difficult to find. We asked Andrew Dowling to write a piece, which brings us all much further.

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

After its breakthrough in the European elections of June 2014, where it obtained 8 per cent of the vote just a few months after its creation, Podemos became Spain’s most supported political party and by early 2015, seemed on an inexorable rise, heading for power at the national level. Podemos was particularly effective at attracting voters under 40 and sectors of Spain’s middle classes that had seen their prospects eroded by the intense economic crisis experienced in Spain since 2008. This generational element had implications for both the growth of the party and its subsequent stalling. Podemos’s apparently relentless rise in Spain coincided with Syriza forming a radical left government in Greece in January 2015. Whilst in much of Europe the deep economic crisis produced right wing populisms, Spain and Greece seemed counter to this wave, whilst Italy produced the ideologically confused 5 Star Movement. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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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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