Thursday, February 04, 2010

Well, the comic opera continues. Within hours of submitting a Stability Plan to Brussels, the Spanish government withdrew a proposal to extend the minimum period required for a full state pension from 15 to 25 years. “Headless” and “chickens” are two of the words which spring immediately to mind. Apparently, this wasn't even a trial balloon. Just a mistake.

Incidentally, this period of 15 years (or even 25) compares with, I think, 44 in the UK. So I’m even less surprised than ever that it’s an almost universal aspiration in Spain to get a cushy civil servant job and serve the 15 years required to allow you to retire early and do even less for the rest of your life. I wonder what the period is in other countries,

Talking of which . . . Over in Greece, the natives are increasingly restless at the consequences of Brussels effectively taking over the economic management of their country. With ominous implications. Reportedly, the Left in Greece has voiced its surprise and anger that their country is now little but an economic protectorate of the EU. Well, what did they expect? That membership would be a one-way ticket to profligacy funded by hand-outs? I guess they did. Possibly in Spain too.

They laughed when Columbus said the world was round. And when Edison invented sound. And then when people (Brits in particular) said the one-size-fits-all euro would not survive a major economic crisis in the absence of prior political unity. Meaning a full credit and debt union, I believe. Whatever these really are. So, who will be proved right – the sceptics who said it wouldn’t work, or the cynics who said crises would be used to force the creation of political union which they knew was necessary but couldn't hope to put in place upfront? I’m on record as saying a number of times that the EU will collapse under the weight of its internal incongruities. Especially its democratic deficiency. So, it will be interesting to see how the Greeks respond to being ruled from Brussels by unelected bureaucrats. Followed, perhaps, by the Portuguese and the Spaniards??

Meanwhile, to lighten the mood, here’s a few fotos from Pontevedra.

One of our brand-new signs, indicating a zebra crossing.Sorry about the orientation but I'm still trying to master Picasa.

And, if you look closely, you can see its partner on the far side of this car. But what you won’t see is the crossing itself. They seem to have forgotten to paint it in.

Likewise the lines between these cars, designating the parking area in front of the houses.


And this foto contains ten new signs in one small area. Actually, it doesn't, as Picasa has cropped it. You can only see five.

And here’s some of the new granite slabs, awaiting laying. Hopefully not where they’re parked, as this street was only done a couple of months ago.

And, finally, here’s the new Pontevedra tourist centre, due to open last September. But, hey, we won’t have any tourists until June. So what does it matter?


Ferrolano said...

Well Colin, your local protectors have certainly picked a winner when locating the yet to painted pedestrian crossing. A bend in the road, what looks like a tee junction, a bus stop and multiple traffic lanes. Heaven help the first person to be run over! Mind you, having said that, the pedestrian knows only too well that the signs are purely an invitation to the motorist to stop, nothing mandatory……

Colin said...

Yes, but it's not the worst. I will post a couple more asap. Cheers. BTW, there had been a crossing there for years before the road was re-paved and all (or most of) the painting jbs were done.

Graeme said...

Colin, I'm pretty sure that its not the case that you get a full state pension here after 15 years - if I remember rightly you have to have 35 years of contributions to get the maximum. The 15 year period is the basis for calculation of your pension, and extending it to 20 or 25 effectively becomes a semi-covert way of reducing pensions because (in general) the last years of your working life are when many people earn more. One issue is the minimum amount of years to need to contribute to be eligible, another is the number of years on which the pension amount is calculated.

Colin said...

Thanks for that clarification, Graeme.

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