Articles by Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja

About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.

What If The PP Were To Offer To Agree The 2022 Budget?

Fernando González Urbaneja | Someone must have told Pablo Casado that by being a grump he does not gain political space or win more votes. This has been noticed in the week’s control session, when Sánchez was surprised by the offer to agree on the renewal of the pending institutional bodies (except for the General Council of the Judiciary). In this way, the Socialists’ accusation that the Popular Party is…

Just Sanchez

Pedro Sánchez: To Govern Is To Spend

To govern is to spend. Although the end result, as Zapatero’s experience shows, leads to losing elections in a spectacular fashion, the temptation is irresistible. Zapatero handed out cheques with debt at 60% of GDP. Sánchez is doing it with levels of 140%. May Saint Rita look after his eyesight!

Spain Catalonia

What Catalans Think

Fernando González Urbaneja | The latest poll published by La Vanguardia shows 39% of Catalans in favour of independence and 53% against. With these figures, it is understandable that ERC is opting for the slow road, to continue to stir up public opinion in order to achieve its goal, to reach its Ithaca. There was also a question on the language spoken at home: Spanish 41%; Catalan 29%; indistinct 30%. Everyone will draw their own conclusions, but the claim that Catalan society is unanimous or clearly in favour of the “indepes” proposals does not enjoy sufficient support. Conllevanza rather than coexistence.

Spain, Nadia Calviño

Spain: More Employment With Less GDP, Bad Bad Bad

Fernando González Urbaneja | Vice-president Calviño, who goes her own way, different and distant in the cabinet, congratulates herself on the growth in employment over the year. And she uses the data to devalue the INE’s estimates on the evolution of GDP during the first half of the year. The first problem we see has to do with the data: both the employment and GDP figures are very much conditioned…


Brussels Does Not Understand The Blocking Of The CGPJ

Fernando González Urbaneja | In Brussels, the leaders of the European Commission do not understand, do not share, the Spanish debate on the renewal of the Council of the Judiciary. They do not say what should be done, it does not fall within their remit. However, they warn that it sounds bad, smells bad and damages the reputation of Spanish democracy. It seems this well-known and publicised opinion does not…

nuclear trillo station

Shutting Down Nuclear Power? It Is Not Possible

Fernando González Urbaneja | The conflict over the escalating price of electricity goes from bad to worse, from threat to threat and from one brag to another. The latest is the Nuclear Forum warning (perhaps threatening) to shut down the nuclear power plants that today provide almost a third of the electricity fed into the grid. A boastful threat, highly improbable, if not impossible. Nuclear management is too important for…

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Let’s Talk About Productivity

Fernando González Urbaneja | Two economic and labour issues are occupying the public debate: how to sustain employment and how to increase wages. These are seemingly incompatible goals, but labour markets are so complex they cannot be locked into simple equations. Claiming that lowering wages will increase employment is as unfounded as claiming that raising wages will reduce employment. There are other, more complex factors involved in order to achieve…


CGPJ: The Problem Is Not One Of Procedure

Fernando González Urbaneja | The deadlock to renew the institutions (more than a thousand days of delay in the CGPJ) indicates that the quality of Spanish democracy is mediocre. And it is not because of the regulated procedures, but because of the application of those procedures by the responsible (or rather irresponsible) politicians. Those in government (socialists and partners) accuse the opposition of being unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the latter’s response is…

spanish airports

Barajas As A Grievance

Fernando González Urbaneja | In its day, the Barcelona Fair was the most important in Spain, while Madrid’s IFEMA languished in the Casa de Campo. A visionary president of the Madrid Chamber of Commerce, Adrián Piera, imagined an ambitious IFEMA and the socialist mayor at the time, Tierno Galván, had faith in him (“if you say so, Piera, you’ll be right”). There was more support and competitions, but the Feria…


All-Or-Nothing Politics

Fernando González Urbaneja | Politics is the art of the possible; democracy requires mediation, containment, explanation, persuasion, convincing… None of this characterises Spanish politics, which are sliding towards the opposite, towards the impossible, towards exaggeration, simplification and polarisation. Politics based on brinkmanship (all or nothing) instead of pragmatic possibilism, gradualism, is heading for failure. The PP requires the PSOE (Casado to Sánchez) with non-negotiable demands to renew the institutions. And…