We need to change the narrative. This was the main idea the CEC companies want to communicate to investors and American journalists. By reading Anglo press one can come to the conclusion that the Spanish economy is not competitive, rigid, with high debt ratios, a non solvent banking sector, and that it avoids reforms. “All this is not true”, said Ángel Ubide, Senior Fellow at Peterson University, “and it is not true based on data, data that may not always reach to the FT”. Or, as Antonio Garrigues, founder of one of the most important global law firms put it: “if the Wall Street Journal says Spanish economy is in bad shape, then Spanish economy is in bad shape”.
Their event in New York gathered around 100 people, “half of them US investors, from Morgan Stanley to US teachers pension funds”, according to the organization. Their goal: to increase the confidence in the Spanish economy. US is still one of the bigger investors in the Spanish economy, with 58.600 million dollars in 2011, up almost 7% from a year earlier.
There will be growth in 2014, all international agencies point to that, said main speaker José Ignacio Sánchez Galán, Iberdrola’s CEO. The electric firm claims to be present in half of the US states and to have invested 25,000 dollars here. Sánchez Galán said. “The euro crisis is ceding, as even Moody’s recognizes; and we have proven capable of financing in international markets, we needed not to be rescued; an important labor devaluation has occurred, actually the biggest in a recession country in the OECD”, he pointed out. And all that without a currency devaluation. Auto-makers are opening in Spain right now. But is not only unskilled workers: 38% of the Spanish workforce is graduated, more than the 30% average of the European Union.
Attendees were especially critical with the high youth unemployment rate, because it could lead to civil unrest. CEC pointed out that this is a complex situation, indeed. Spain had a big unemployment rate even in the good times (8%), and even with that 5 million immigrants enter the country to work. The social network, the unemployment benefits and the big savings ratio of the Spanish society are creating a cushion to minimize the effects.
Spain has make the reforms and the fiscal adjustments. Now is time for the European Union to act, said Sánchez Galán, to speed recovery up.
CEC’s New York event will be followed by appearances at Harvard University and the Peterson Institute for International Studies in Washington. The 23-city tour opened last week in London.