Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Spanish Ministress of the Economy gave a robust response to EU forecasts for Spain’s economy which are considerably worse than those of the government itself. “We are working hard to deal with the crisis.” she said, adding “I hope the figures from Brussels will prove to be wrong.” My confidence soared.

I wrote a while ago that Spain’s banks were now the country’s largest estate agent/realtor. Naturally, they’ve been offloading properties not much above the value of the loans on them. Which has not shown much solidarity with the real developers and estate agents, in whom the banks probably have investments. The said developers and agents have been screaming about how unfair this is, forcing them to reduce prices to unprofitable levels. It’s hard to be sympathetic when you know just how much they were making in the good times and you read that the owner of one major company paid himself more than 3 million euros last year as the ship went down with all hands.

The Spanish and Rumanian governments have signed some sort of deal under which out-of-work citizens of the latter will be helped to go back home. The Rumanian minister did try to explain to his Spanish counterpart the maths of unemployment pay here being six times the Rumanian average wage but, nonetheless, we’re now expected to believe there’ll be a rapid exodus of surplus Rumanians. Passed by pigs flying the other way.

“When it comes to seeking subsidies, it’s perfectly normally to certify a project has been completed, even if it has barely started,” said some local official here recently. Well, I dare say that in Continental Europe – especially in the eurozone – it probably is. But I imagine there are quite a few other countries where it isn’t. Possibly even some in the Third World.

Finally . . . Thinking about the opening paragraph of this post – the Spanish verb ‘esperar’ is ambiguous. Perhaps she meant ‘expect’ rather than ‘hope’. Either way, though, she’s surely in cloud-cuckoo land.

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5 comments:

Lucy Watson said...

Re Rumanians: did you overhear Nerea's (the lass you bought a coke for)seething comment yesterday about how her "small business2 was ailing thanks to fierce competition from Rumanians?

Oh and the new mugshot is seriously Michael Winner-ish Col. Me likey.

mike the trike said...

Thanks Lucy I have been trying to put a name to that picture all day!

Colin said...

Thanks, folks. First Brian Sewell and now Michael bloody Winner. Not sure I'm too chuffed. I was thinking Paul Newman. . .

I think it needs explaining that Nerea's biz is begging. Not that all Rumanians here are beggars. Some of them are thieves. . . . Just a (bad) joke.

Xoán-Wahn said...

The Spanish govt. probably should have followed Germany and Austria on working rights for Rumanians. Personally, I feel that as members of the EU, they should have the same rights as others but taking away restrictions in the middle of a crisis with skyrocketing unemployment was probably not the best idea. I don't see a mass exodus happening anytime soon, if the reaction of Polish workers in the UK is anything to go by.

Let's hope the economy improves a bit on its own because I don't see Zapatero pushing through too many economic reforms.

Colin said...

Yes, I agree. But there were plenty of fools here who thought the boom would go on for ever and the Rumanians would be needed for menial tasks on behalf of Spaniards whom Zapatero said would soon be richer than not just the Italians and the French but even the Germans. It hasn't turned out quite that way, of course. But President Z says he remains optimistic. Even though the PP are now ahead in the polls. His days may be numbered.