0

What's up, Europe? ECB plan gives hope, worries Spain

A one euro coin stands on a map of Spain next to Madrid.

Markets are up, additional bailouts likely to be approved, and the euro will live another day. While that sounds like great news for people across Europe, Spanish journalist Miguel-Anxo Murado fears that help could come with more strings attached.

"You name it, the education, everything, has been affected by the austerity program. People are now beginning to feel the pain of it," says Murado. "In fact, we're preparing ourselves, we're bracing for a very difficult autumn in which lots of industrial action, strikes, protests are already in store."

That pain comes on top of a staggering 25 percent unemployment rate in Spain. The prospect of additional cutbacks in a new bailout package has the Spanish public worried.

"The bailout will stigmatize the Spanish economy and there's another problem and it's that this help comes with strings attached," says Murado.

Kai Ryssdal: European markets have been a bit brighter the past week or so -- mostly on hopes that the European Central Bank will ride to the debt-crisis rescue once and for all. It prompts us to ask, as we sometimes do, "What's up, Europe?" We go to Madrid today and to Miguel-Anxo Murado to see how the Spanish are really feeling about things. Miguel, good to talk to you again.

Miguel-Anxo Murado: My pleasure.

Ryssdal: So first of all I guess, how's the mood? I mean sentiment over here seems to be a little bit hey, Europe's not doing so bad right now.

Murado: Interestingly enough in Spain, in particular this news about the ECB scheme to save the euro has been received with some concern and apprehension.

Ryssdal: Really, apprehension? It's going to save the euro and that's a bad thing?

Murado: It's not a bad thing if it saves the euro, but maybe not a good thing for Spain. For the reason that Spain has to request a full bailout in order to enjoy the scheme's device by Mr. Mario Draghi.

Ryssdal: Yeah, the head of the ECB.

Murado: That's a problem because the bailout will stigmatize the Spanish economy and there's another problem and it's that this help comes with strings attached.

Ryssdal: The more important question though is how's the mood of the people? It seems they're not all that happy.

Murado: The people are mostly worried about unemployment. The unemployment figure is, of course, 25 percent. We keep repeating this figure because it's so staggering. But then also because of the response, which comes basically in the form of cutbacks of, well everything. You name it, the education, everything, has been affected by the austerity program. People are now beginning to feel the pain of it. In fact, we're preparing ourselves, we're bracing for a very difficult autumn in which lots of industrial action, strikes, protests are already in store.

Ryssdal: You'll forgive me, but this sounds a little bit like Greece of a year ago, which nobody really enjoyed.

Murado: The sorts of solutions that the European Union and the Spanish government now are implementing are quickly approaching us to Greece in a certain sense. Because the response of the population is becoming increasingly like that of Greece. We don't have the same problems, but we have the same solutions. And maybe implementing the same solutions, we will end up with the same problems as well.

Ryssdal: What about you, day to day, do you feel this?

Murado: Of course I suffer all these tax races and the deterioration of the economy very much.

Ryssdal: But can you, say, go out for a nice meal with friends? Is that something you're still willing and able to do?

Murado: It depends on your mood and your nature. Mine is that I will go out with my friends no matter what. And if the crisis deepens, then well, an additional reason to do that.

Ryssdal: Miguel-Anxo Murado, we reached him in Madrid. Miguel, thanks so much.

Murado: My pleasure.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Log in to post0 Comments
With Generous Support From...