Why the Euro-cream turned sour in Spain
In the second in a series, Elizabeth Nash reports on the potential Emu pain for Madrid
Wednesday 13 December 1995
He announced this week spending cuts of 900bn pesetas (pounds 4.8bn) over the next year but gave no indication where they might fall. Obvious targets are, as in France, pensions, social services and public-sector employment. Mr Solbes pledged to make no cuts in these areas.
Spain differs from France in two important respects.
First, the Spanish Socialist government has been achieving budget cuts for years by strenuous arm-twisting, accompanied by threats of worse treatment if deals are not reached. Second, Spain's welfare state, though an advance on what the government inherited when it came to power in 1982, falls far short of that enjoyed by the French.
The private sector takes much of the burden of health care and pensions which in France or Britain is borne by the state. The idea of a "cradle-to-grave" state provision is incomprehensible to most Spaniards, who look to their families to fulfil that responsibility.
Mr Solbes insists that Spain will meet the EU criteria for a single currency by 1999 and that trends are moving in the right direction. But Spain fails all the Maastricht criteria and Brussels fears it may not catch up in time.
"Our political advancement in Europe is fundamental," said Mr Solbes yesterday, when asked about prospects for a single currency.
Failure to meet the 1999 deadline would be a crushing blow for a nation that views EU membership as the seal upon its existence as a modern democracy.
But for millions of Spaniards, especially the unemployed, the European dream has already turned sour; further welfare cuts could tip the present mood of cynicism and apathy into one of revolt.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...