“Austerity can ruin the euro zone,” says Unipapel’s Millán Álvarez-Miranda

By Fernando Barciela, in Madrid | Unipapel’s managing director Millán Álvarez-Miranda warns the European economy is deteriorating as a whole, from Dublin to Paris and Athens, not just in the periphery of the euro area.

Are you concerned about the markets? Of course. You don’t want your company to be undervalued on the markets. In our case, we must also bear in mind that half of the shareholders are present at the council. The fact that the stock price is at adequate levels allows shareholders to come in or leave and ushers in new investors, all of which is crucial to finance expansion projects, to increase capital. Right now, none of this is possible.

Are you afraid of the possible impact of a deepening crisis on the company? We do. Among other reasons, we worry because the macroeconomic situation has deteriorated markedly in recent months. As of June or so, the crisis that we noticed in Spain began to be felt in France or Germany. Now, the damage is widespread. It is very worrying. And obviously, we are concerned over Spain’s excessive unemployment numbers.

Do you think it’s possible that a country can have an unemployment rate of 23%? Wouldn’t we find an explanation of that staggering percentage in the hidden economy? I disagree. Apart from statistical inadequacies or the unregulated economy, unemployment does exist, and I can tell. I have friends and family who are unemployed, something it had never happened to me before. It is very difficult to know a family in which there isn’t at least one person long-term unemployed.

What about the fiscal adjustment? I think it’s inevitable, it is a task we must do. The debt is huge and we have to pay it back, it does not take an expert to see that. The question is how, how that adjustment is metered so that we can continue to grow. It is all too clear that too harsh an austerity plan can lead us all to ruin.

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