Spain, now in its 14th year of uninterrupted growth, is benefiting from its longest period of expansion in modern history. In today's speech at Madrid's stock exchange, Mr Zapatero will emphasise the economy's diminishing dependence on construction, its strong job creation, and the decline in inflation. "In two or three years' time, Spain will overtake Italy and Germany in gross domestic product per capita," the prime minister said in an interview with El País, a Madrid daily.
The problem is that Mr Zapatero's team has done little, other than keeping a tight rein on public finances, to contribute to the economy's health. "Spain has not tackled a fundamental problem, its declining productivity," says Jordi Canals, dean of the IESE business school in Barcelona. "We are stuck in the middle, a high-wage economy with no ability to innovate."
Mr Canals also worries about the lack of integration of Spain's 4m immigrants, who account for almost 10 per cent of the population. "Social divisions are beginning to emerge," Mr Canals says. "Already, there are charities in Barcelona working with children of immigrants who have no schooling. Without an education, what future will they have?"
Polls indicate Spaniards are beginning to resent the huge influx of foreigners. Mr Zapatero's government amnestied 600,000 illegal immigrants shortly after coming to power in 2004. "But this was not followed by a clear policy on immigration," says Julio Carabaña, a sociologist at the Complutense University in Madrid. "Educators are worried, health workers are worried, society is wary, but the government does nothing.
"Mr Zapatero has been reluctant to tackle the tough issues, like immigration, because there are no clear political gains to be had in dealing with them," Mr Carabaña says. The Socialists inherited a strong, liberalised economy when they came to power in 2004. The past two years, however, have been dominated by Mr Zapatero's ham-fisted attempt to create a "national energy champion".
The government successfully fought off a takeover bid by Eon of Germany for Endesa, Spain's largest electricity company. But victory came at a heavy cost: the European Commission is suing Spain for obstructing Eon's bid, the reputation of the Spanish energy regulator lies in tatters, and the government is at loggerheads with its stock market regulator for bending Spanish takeover rules.
Adéu a Nihil Obstat | Hola a The Catalan AnalystDesprés de 13 anys d'escriure en aquest bloc pràcticament sense interrumpció, avui el dono per clausurat. Això no vol dir que m'hagi jubilat de la xarxa, sinó que he passat el relleu a un altra bloc que segueix la mateixa línia del Nihil Obstat. Es tracta del bloc The Catalan Analyst i del compte de Twitter del mateix nom: @CatalanAnalyst Us recomano que els seguiu.
Moltes gràcies a tots per haver-me seguit amb tanta fidelitat durant tots aquests anys.
dilluns, 16 d’abril de 2007
El Financial Times repassa Zapatero
Mentre Zapatero es posa medalles a la borsa de Madrid, el Financial Times li canta la cartilla:
Publicado por NO a les 11:44 a. m.