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What’s up, Europe? After Greece, spotlight’s on Spain

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Kai Ryssdal: The Greek election’s over with, not that it changed very much. But there’s more to the debt crisis over there than just Athens, you know. Like the other 17 countries in the eurozone, which gets us to today’s installment of “What’s up, Europe?” To Spain we go — Madrid, specifically — and journalist Miguel Anxo Murado. Good to have you back.

Miguel-Anxo Murado: My pleasure.

Ryssdal: So were you guys following with as much fervor as it was followed over here, which was quite a bit I have to tell you.

Murado: I think with more forever because, well, we are next on the line. We knew that everybody would be looking at Spain right after the election results were known in Greece. As it happens, we were right to be worried because it didn’t matter that the “good guys” — as the Spanish prime minister put it — won the election. The fact is that our bond yields are, again, going up and they have crossed the threshold of the 7 percent, which is a very scary figure. So it means that if this was a make-or-break moment, it’s more break than make in the case of Spain.

Ryssdal: Is there a sense of trepidation over there? Is there fear, do you think?

Murado: I think fear is starting to set in. But in the last two weeks it’s become clear that nothing works, that the bailout of our banks does not work. That now Greece, which was the great hope of the Spanish government, they were saying that if the situation calmed in Greece then the markets would stop punishing Spain. This didn’t happen. It’s not happening, at least today. So it looks like we’re heading towards a full bailout, an intervention of the Spanish economy and that’s very, very worrying.

Ryssdal: Are Spaniards — I guess the only way to say this is to say it — sick and tired of all this yet?

Murado: Certainly because this is lasting so long. We are faced with, well, never a dull moment. Every week we have a new emergency. So if it were not tragic, it would be almost comic.

Ryssdal: The press, of course, is full of all this news — about the bailout and the Greek vote and all that — but what are real people talking about when they go out for a cup of coffee in the afternoon?

Murado: Well, they talk about the bailout, but probably in different terms than the government or the media or the economists. They wonder what this means for their everyday life — not exactly what it means for the economy of the country because that is difficult to understand. It is difficult to grasp for the man and the woman on the street. So they wonder how much it’s going to cost them personally. I think it’s quite a logical question to ask yourself these days.

Ryssdal: Miguel-Anxo Murado in Madrid for us. Miguel, thanks so much.

Murado: My pleasure.

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