Harassment of Ferrovial justifies moving HQ to Netherlands


Juan Pedro Marín Arrese explained yesterday in the daily newspaper Expansion that: “It goes without saying that the change of headquarters announced by Ferrovial is bad news for the country. It is understandable that it should cause displeasure in the executive branch. That it should try to dissuade it with good manners is logical. But the relentless harassment that the circles of power and their cronies subject the company and its president to is a good enough argument to justify its departure. It boasts of Europeanism, but persecutes those who seek to exercise one of the fundamental freedoms recognised in the Treaties. It is not just a matter of derogatory, if not insulting, labels, such as branding Rafael del Pino as unpatriotic, or accusing him of greed or tax evasion, in an auto de fe worthy of our darkest legend. The President of the Government himself allows himself to question the legality of the operation, in an open invitation to instigate a veritable institutional hunt.

Such an unbridled reaction can only further undermine investor confidence and increase the damage inflicted by the announcement. It reflects, deep down, spite at the realisation that the climate of intimidation against the business class, irresponsibly promoted from ministerial levels, does not come for free. The rude attacks against Amancio Ortega or Juan Roig, the electricity companies or the banks, have been tolerated by those who should have nipped them in the bud. Far from it, the head of the government is jumping on the bandwagon of this demagogic drift by demonising the powerful and big business, in an attempt to ingratiate himself with voters who seem to have turned their backs on him, except in the poll cooked up in his own house. So many reasons are piling up for him to pack his bags that it is not surprising that Ferrovial’s announcement is being equated with a personal affront.

Disqualifications so undocumented as to make one blush. That Ferrovial owes everything to Spanish society would be tantamount to acknowledging that the tenders obtained were awarded by hand, in open prevarication. That Spain’s membership of the European Union guarantees the same level of legal certainty as the Netherlands is at odds with the espadrille-like interventionism practised in our country. From capricious taxes inspired by a desire to confiscate to the freezing of food prices advocated by the very vice-president of the government herself. And that is not to mention the pressure on employers to accept submissively the wage demands of the trade unions, under the threat of skimming off taxes on those who resist. We share the same European project with the Netherlands, but from budgets that incline us more towards the type of regime that inspires the coalition’s purple partner. The one that openly encourages the occupation of flats and premises as a housing solution instead of promoting social housing as in the Netherlands. And look at where that gets us.”

About the Author

JP Marin Arrese
Juan Pedro Marín Arrese is a Madrid-based economic analyst and observer. He regularly publishes articles in the Spanish leading financial newspaper 'Expansión'.