Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria
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, recently led a press conference announcing the government’s budget decision for 2013, and whilst many of the implementations are to be expected – where to make cuts and where to raise cash – some are aimed at the country moving beyond the matronly role of the eurozone advisers.
This comes at a time when Spain is in very dire condition, and is running parallel with the massive protests in Greece. Both countries are seeing retirement age raised, public sector pay freezing, unemployment rife and government decisions seeming out of touch with what’s happening on the street. As for the latter, massive demonstrations involving thousands have been happening on the streets of Madrid and other cities. It is expected that Spain will ask for a bailout from the various big three eurozone lenders, and as said before, there are some interesting provisos laid out in next year’s budget, one of which is an independent body set up to monitor the fiscal dealings of the government – a prudent move and one that Greece should look to.
The BBC reports several other key points, “Ms Saenz de Santamaria said that efforts to close the government’s deficit would focus more on spending cuts than tax rises. The only areas of spending to increase in 2013 would be pensions, student scholarships and interest payments.” The latter points are interesting in that these have been eroded by other nations in trouble, but even with a whopping 25% unemployment in the country, Spain has wisely decided to spare the aging and its educational future. It’s abundantly clear that the country is in desperate shape, but might be approaching their problems with creativity and foresight, pleasing Brussles in the process – also reported by the Beeb, ‘The reforms went further than what was required, according to Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn.”I particularly welcome the ambitious plans to establish an independent fiscal council, to further liberalise professional services, and to effectively reduce the fragmentation of the internal market in Spain,” Mr Rehn said.