Spanish Welfare: Austerity & Protest

Europe in Crisis

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Elections amidst Recession

On March 25, all 109 seats in parliament were up for grabs in the autonomous community of Andalusia, the largest and most populated of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities.

The Prime Minister’s Partido Popular (or Popular Party) won a majority of seats in the Andalusia region, the Southern most region of mainland Spain. However, the party did not win an absolute majority as was speculated. While the PP fell 5 seats short of the 55 it needed to win an absolute majority, this is the first election since Spain’s return to democracy that the Socialists have not had a parliamentary majority. Falling short of winning an absolute majority in Andalusia has the ruling party disappointed. The socialists have the opportunity to form a coalition with other leftists to maintain a political stronghold in the region.

Rajoy’s rival and leader of the Socialist Party, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, said Rajoy’s unpopular labor reform legislation is to blame. Amidst economic recession, labor reforms that threaten job stability for employees remain unpopular.


For history about Spains autonomous communities:




The General Strike

Rajoy’s Ambitious Austerity Plan for 2012

IberoSphereThe conservative Spanish government, lead by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, is taking extensive austerity measures to cut Spain’s deficit. Rajoy recently unveiled his goal of cutting last year’s fiscal deficit from 8.5 per cent of GDP to 5.3 per cent in 2012. The measures include €27bn worth of spending cuts and tax hikes; public worker wages will be frozen, government ministers should see a reduction in pay, large companies could see stricter measures regarding tax loopholes and tobacco could be taxes at higher rates.

Hundreds of Thousands retake streets in Spain

On Sunday March 11th hundreds of thousands of labor reform protesters re-took the streets in more than 60 cities. The protesters are angry over new laws that govern agreements between eomployers and employees, Now placing local branch arrangements over more regional and national collective bargaining rights. Many see the austerity measures being pushed on the people as regression after decades of progress. These protests are seen as a warm up, or test, ahead of what organizers are calling a “General Strike” on March 29th.

Youth or Unions?

Protests against what may be much needed labor reform laws took place on February 19, 2012 with half a million people taking to the streets in Spain.

“The conservative party says its own labour market reform, passed Feb. 10, will give struggling companies more room to recover from the economic crisis and create jobs in a country where almost half of all young people are unemployed.” -Reuters
Video courtesy ABC News on Youtube

Spain’s “Lost Generation”

In this report by Al Jazeera English a young man my age, 22, eats a meal paid for by the Spanish government before walking away into an abyss of unemployment and homelessness. Today, Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the EU with 22.9 percent of the Spanish population out of work. Moreover, 48.6 percent of youth under the age of 24 are jobless and many seek to leave Spain to find work where it might be available. One such place is Germany. As can be seen in the video, newly graduated youth take language courses to learn the German language before they head off in search of a more “job friendly economy.” However, for most young people in Spain moving out of the country is simply not an option due to financial constraints.

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