We have reached the next stage in the Catalan crisis. Rajoy’s government – with the agreement of Pedro Sánchez and the Cs – has requested that Catalan president Puigdemont clarifies whether or not there has been a declaration of independence. Otherwise, article 155 of the Constitution will be implemented, implying a limitation on the region’s autonomy. Against this backdrop, Spaniards’ confidence is being eroded.
Articles by Joan Tapia
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The predicted train crash between the Catalan and the Spanish governments has now happened. But what’s next? It’s difficult for the referendum to be a success, but the the fact there is no independence in the short-term, doesn’t mean that the train crash is not going to have consequences in the medium-term.
A survey by the Family Business Institute, which groups the big Spanish companies together, and the CIS’ economic confidence barometer show that people are confident about the outlook for the economy. But the political panorama is a different story. They are more wearied by the political tension and corruption than by the conditions of their daily lives.
Spain’s 2017 budget leaves little room for manoeuvre. It represents exactly 39%, the percentage the state can freely make decisions on what do with from what it raises and borrows. It shows that, despite the fact the economy is doing well, we have a lot of problems.
Since the beginning of 2014, the Spanish economy has been recovering from a very tough crisis – unemployment jumped from 8% in 2008 to 26% at the start of 2014 and has now fallen to 18.9%. This is in part thanks to the ECB’s extremely expansionary monetary policy and low interest rates. Now after Donald Trump’s victory, everything could become unstable.
It’s embarrassing that the PSOE is saying the labour reform has been negative and that the PP is promising to lower taxes when Spain has to negotiate new spending cuts with Brussels.
With less than 50 days to go to the general elections, which perhaps may be more decisive than on other occasions, and the Catalan Parliament voting on the start of the secession from Spain, neither economic nor political confidence is faltering.
BARCELONA | July 17, 2015 | By Joan Tapia | The lowering of the income tax while taking money from the country’s pension funds can only be justified as a way to inject optimism before the election.
BARCELONA | By Joan Tapia | We don’t know what 2016 holds for us, but we do know that 2015 will be economically positive. From an economic point of view, 2015 may even be a mini-boom. Apart from the GDP, which has been growing for five quarters, the tax collection is doing relatively well. The central government will stop containing the public spending, even for the Spanish regions, because 2015 is an electoral year. The fiscal reform will be a sort of increase in salary that will boost consumption.
BARCELONA | By Joan Tapia | Last month, I warned about the serious political problem in Spain, which was (and is) focused on the Catalonian crisis and the rise of the new political party Podemos. Both could disrupt the political system and kill off imperfect bipartisanship. Meanwhile, the economy was starting to show some signs of improvement. In November, the perception that the economy is improving while politics are worsening has increased and multiplied. It is difficult to argue with the fact that the economy is going better than last year.