Spanish PM expects weak economic growth in fourth quarter

Friday, December 31, 2010

Madrid, Dec 31 (IANS/EFE) The Spanish economy will grow in the fourth quarter of this year, but it will be a “slow and weak” growth, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Thursday, adding that “what remains ahead is a very decisive task of consolidation and strengthening”.

The premier gave an accounting of 2010 at a press conference at which he admitted that it had been a difficult period, albeit one during which a step in the direction of recovering economic activity in Spain had been made, just as he had predicted a year ago.

The most serious thing has been the loss of jobs and the increase in the unemployment rate, Zapatero said, noting that the basic objective is to start 2011 on the road to the creation of jobs.

There are already encouraging figures in hand pointing to a correction in the economy’s disequilibriums, which became more pronounced with the crisis in the financial system, Zapatero said.

The halving of the foreign deficit is “a determining factor that will show that the economy will not be able to resort in the medium term to external savings to finance itself”, Zapatero said.

There is also the need to reduce the public deficit, Zapatero said, adding that the “hard and difficult” adjustment measures are going to be carried out in 2010 and 2011 “with a great effort of austerity, indispensable for making the accounts viable, solvent and generating confidence in the medium and long term”.

“To achieve recovery and exchange the productive model for more solid growth,” structural reforms are needed, to which a good part of the political activity this year has been dedicated, and which will also be the case next year, Zapatero said.

Labour reform must develop in concrete ways, “like … collective bargaining, which will be undertaken in the first months of the year”, the prime minister said.

Opposition Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy Thursday also gave an accounting of the year that comes to an end Friday.

The government should develop the economic measures needed to generate confidence that calms the markets so that “a rescue is never spoken of again”, Rajoy said in a press conference.

The Popular Party will support the government in everything that may be in the general interest of Spaniards “because Spain cannot allow 2011 to be another lost year”, Rajoy said.


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