The latest unemployment statistics here in Spain made global headlines – over six million people are currently out of work! That’s a lot of people. Many of those are young, many have no employment history to fall back on. Here in the Canary Islands 34 per cent of the labour force are currently not in employment. That will leave scars on the population that will take more than words from Madrid to heal.
As the figures were announced the political reactions were swift, and despite their time in power and their introduction of game-changing labour reforms that, in effect, eased the path for employers to fire people who had been in long-term employment, the current administration blamed the previous one for the rise. But such is politics.
It has also long been the fall-back position of political parties in power throughout recession-hit Europe to blame the world recession, bankers or other countries for national woes. Ok, that does make some sense but is it fair to use external forces as a guilt blanket for all local problems?
Those countries who had had to look outside their national financial boundaries to Europe for assistance have also had to knuckle down and adopt those dreaded ‘austerity’ measures. Again, the governments who must impose them are in a precarious position – having sought outside aid they must agree to certain conditions to satisfy the terms of the assistance, and also sell it to a jumpy electorate at home. Perhaps here in Spain much of the ire currently directed towards the party in power is that there were many who believed that by voting the coservatives into power all would be well, jobs would be created, and while social policies might receive less attention, the economy would return to an even keel.
So who is to blame for the current economic woes, not just in Spain, but in Europe and beyond? Do national governments have the right to blame others for economic and employment problems within their borders.
Tomrrow on English Time I hope to speak to Andrés Ortega, a writer and journalist. He has previously worked as Director in the Department of Studies and Analysis, Presidency of the Spanish Government for two different terms (1994-1996 and 2008-2011 – being a permanent advisor since 1990); Director of Foreign Policy Spanish Edition, published by FRIDE; and Editorialist and Columnist in the Spanish newspaper, EL PAÍS.
Tune it, English Time on Radio Sur Adeje, 107.9fm, at 1pm.