By Don Quijones: While many Spaniards may spit bile and venom at the merest suggestion of Catalonian autonomy, they would do well to ask themselves what happened to their own national sovereignty. How is it, for example, that Spain is taking orders on virtually all economic matters from men in black dispatched from Brussels and Frankfurt?
Entries in Europe - Spain (51)
By Don Quijones: Two years ago, Mariano Rajoy rode a wave of public anger to victory in Spain’s general election. The man who could never win anything was suddenly gifted the closest any politician can hope to get to absolute power in an ostensibly democratic society.
By Don Quijones: There are things politicians should never do – assuming they want to hold on to their jobs. Using the dirty “s” word (sovereignty) is a definite no-no. Also high up on the list of “don’t dos” is threatening the interests of foreign creditors and bondholders.
By Don Quijones: Despite a miraculous economic “recovery,” EU-wide youth unemployment hit 24%. New records were set in Spain (56.5%), Greece (57.3%), Italy (40%), and France (26%). The warnings from history are clear: governments that allow youth unemployment to escalate, do so at their own peril.
By Don Quijones: Whatever you might read in the news these days, it’s not all doom and gloom in Spain. For a certain segment of the population, albeit quite a small one, life has never been better. They include Rodrigo Rato, the man who many blame for the biggest bankruptcy in Spanish history.
By Don Quijones: Four months ago, Miguel Blesa, ex-CEO of failed Caja Madrid and senior member of the governing Popular Party, was in jail. Accused of felonies ranging from irregularities in Caja Madrid’s purchase of City National Bank of Florida to wrongful “appropriation of funds,” Blesa was not even granted bail by the judge. But now he is free, and the judge is in trouble.
European regulators are desperate. The only thing known about the holes in bank balance sheets stuffed with decomposing assets is that they’re deep. No one knows how deep. No one is allowed to know – not until Eurocrats decide who will pay for bailing out these banks. How do we know? ECB President Mario Draghi said that.
By Don Quijones: If there is a two-word combination that strikes primal fear into the hearts of global senior bankers and representatives of international financial institutions, it is “odious” + “debt,” a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation shouldn’t be enforceable.
By Don Quijones: If recent reports from the Spanish government are to be believed, the Spanish economy is now officially out of the woods. Not only is the worst behind it, but it’s now positively humming along at a growth rate of, um, 0.1% per year. It is, as Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro put it, a “lesson to the world.” Oh really?
By Don Quijones: The Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy, steeped in a huge corruption scandal, took his unique brand of leadership onto the international stage, including the UN – with the most interesting results. While he was at it, he gave an interview on Bloomberg that quickly spiraled into such a disaster that he begged Bloomberg not to publish it. Oh my
By Don Quijones: If Spain and Catalonia were playing real, rather than figurative, Russian Roulette, the revolver would be loaded with two or three bullets. Now an extra one was slipped into a chamber: prize-winning economist Juan Valerde announced that Madrid may have to “bomb Barcelona” in order to put a halt to the region’s rising separatist aspirations.
By Don Quijones: Countries like Germany and Turkey have demanded explanations from the U.S. and U.K. governments regarding the NSA’s and GCHQ’s surveillance and wire-tapping program. But Spain’s Rajoy regime has remained conspicuously silent – despite the fact that this surveillance is a clear infringement of Spain’s domestic and external affairs.
By Don Quijones: Spain’s government plumbed new depths of political chicanery and incompetence this week when it openly admitted that it had tampered with evidence in the Bárcenas affair, a corruption case implicating many of its senior ministers.
By Don Quijones: Since taking office, Rajoy’s government has done everything within its means to alienate the Spanish public. Its key election pledges – taxes wouldn’t be hiked, banks would never be bailed out, vital services would not be cut, unemployment would be a priority, the economy would improve... – all turned out to be lies; and its corruption scandals are mushrooming. But now it has a new strategy: a territorial tussle with the UK.
By Don Quijones, Spain: Since last year’s unprecedented protests to mark Catalonia’s national day of independence on September 11th, relations between Rajoy’s administration and Catalonia’s coalition government have soured to the point of curdling. Catalonia’s leader called it a “war of cultures” between the two “countries.”
Contributed by Don Quijones, Spain: Ester Quintana, a 42-year old Barcelona resident, was on her way home after taking part with friends in a demonstration to mark that day’s general strike. As she made her way past riot police vans parked in a narrow street just off Paseo de Gracia, she was hit in the face by a rubber bullet.
Contributed by Don Quijones, Spain: BBC's article about the political funding scandal gripping Spain featured a photo of hapless leader Mariano Rajoy licking his lips like a "dirty old man." It spread like wildfire across the social media, setting off a cacophony of calls for Rajoy to resign for the irreparable damage he’d done to Spain’s overseas image.
Contributed by Don Quijones: The first four items the G-8 dealt with was the need for governments to share information to “fight the scourge of tax evasion.” If only their primary targets were multinationals, banks, and hedge funds that pay a pitiful fraction of the taxes they owe in the countries they operate. But they’re going after the little guy.
Contributed by Don Quijones:Two weeks ago, Miguel Blesa, former president of Spanish savings bank Caja Madrid, went to jail for his role in the bank’s demise. Finally, a TBTF bank chief got nailed for his role in the financial crisis. But it was too good to be true! Now a witch hunt against the judge has begun.
Contributed by Don Quijones: Steppenwolf’s The Pusher, the opening song for the 1969 movie, Easy Rider, was about dealers who “push” tainted drugs on unsuspecting users. The pusher “don’t care if you live or if you die,” it goes. Similarly, Spanish banks pushed investment products called preferentes on unsuspecting clients.