With the Spanish economy on the ropes and back in the main pages of Europe’s newspapers today, the ruling Partido Popular has come out fighting in defence of their economic strategy. Earlier Economy Minister Luis de Guindos claimed the problem was more a case of nervousness about Spain’s ability to recover.
Now the party’s spokesman in the Congress of Deputies, Alfonso Alonso, has used the news of the increased risk premium as proof that the Government’s tough General Budget, although a “bitter medicine”, is vital if Spain’s economy is going to recover.
Alonso assured that the Government is not taking these measures “gratuitously”, but rather in response to “an extremely serious” situation. “The austerity drive and the containment of the deficit continue to be essential”, he said to EFE news agency. “This is the bitter medicine that Spain needs to win back confidence”.
Students of British politics might be reminded by Alonso’s last comment of the words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who, at the height of her own austerity drive in the 1980s famously said: “Yes, the medicine is harsh but the patient requires it!”
At the time Thatcher’s reforms were deeply divisive and were met with great hostility. It was not for years after that her Government began to be widely credited with restoring credibility to the British economy. So far, the PP have only witnessed the hostility – they will be hoping recognition and vindication will not be too far down the track.