Ana Fuentes/Carlos Díaz Güell | “We were a very poor country which in the last 40 years has made a spectacular transformation. Today there are over 150,000 companies which export regularly and have exported at least in the last three years”, explains Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, High Commissioner for the Spain Brand (Marca España), and privileged observer of the economic reality in Spain and how its business class has evolved over the last few decades.
Articles by Carlos Díaz Guell
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As far as the global economy is concerned, 2017 will be the year when new US President Donald Trump will make his mark. That said, how far his influence will reach is still uncertain as it is still too soon to know how many of his policies will be implemented.
A lot of matters need to be addressed in Spain’s banking sector in the next four years. Urgent matters are the full privatisation of Bankia and the irrelevant BMN; completing the transformation of the savings banks (La Caixa, Kutxabank, Ibercaja, Unicaja and Liberbank), the adjustment of Banco Popular and the retirement of the post-war bankers.
Reliable economists coincide in assuring us that if populists like Podemos got into power, it would mean a “a fast and intense” deterioration in GDP. But social inequality, characterised in the developed countries by the empoverishment of the middle class, is already causing alarm bells to ring in the economic world which pays more attention to global trends.
Irrespective of what kind it is, research generates numerous commercial applications which can be profitable for the companies who promote them, while making countries more powerful and turning them into global scientific references. And so what about Spain? There is an increasingly more intense brain drain amongst young Spanish researchers. They are snatched by foreign universities to develop an activity which here in Spain is limited, fundamentally for budget reasons.
The idea of motorways which would help decongest access to Madrid began to take shape in the first half of the 1990s and the project was completed in 2000. At that time it was a win-win situation for both investors and citizens. Now these highways have gone bankrupt and will need to be rescued, which could cost the public coffers nearly 900 million euros.
Someone like Donald Trump emerging on the world stage threatens to make too many changes in the status quo, some of which will have a particular impact on Europe’s economies and especially Spain. One area which appears likely to progress at a cruising speed in the short and medium-term is Defence spending. This is a particularly sensitive issue and one which Obama already tried to have modified during his mandate.
Rajoy’s minority government will face the first big challenge of its new term in office with the presentation of the 2017 State Budget. This could be a good opportunity to start from scratch and implement much needed reforms.
Energy sector analysts have received Spain’s new Energy Minister with a sense of satisfaction, pointing out that most of the electricity reform has been implemented, although there are a few aspects still to be regulated. This is too simple a version coming from a sector accustomed to having a low profile. And one which, despite the latest modifications, charges Spaniards one of the most expensive electricity tariffs in Europe, according to Eurostat.
Spanish companies like Santander, Zara, Freixenet, ACS, Repsol, Roca, Iberdrola, Abertis, Telefónica, Melia or Ferrovial, to mention only a very few, are the companies which are behind this internationalisation of our country’s economy. Over the last few years, they have given a considerable boost to the Spanish economy’s presence across the globe.