News / Europe

Spain PM Resists Calls for His Resignation

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) reacts to a question from a reporter as he leaves after a session at the Senate in Madrid, Aug. 1, 2013.
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) reacts to a question from a reporter as he leaves after a session at the Senate in Madrid, Aug. 1, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
— Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy admitted Thursday that he has made "mistakes" related to a corruption scandal engulfing his party, but he faced down calls for his resignation. Analysts say Rajoy is betting that the economy will save his political career - as Spain, like other euro countries, finally see a slow move toward economic recovery.

A number of top members of Spain’s governing Popular Party are accused of taking under-the-table payments over the course of almost two decades. Rajoy is one of the alleged recipients.

Luis Barcenas, the party’s longtime treasurer until 2009, said a construction magnate gave him cash donations, which he then distributed to senior Popular Party figures.

Rajoy and other members of his party say the claims are false.

But speaking before parliament on Thursday, the prime minister said he had made one mistake.

"I am sorry,” he said, “But that's the way it is. I was wrong in trusting someone we now know didn't deserve it."

Economic defense

But Rajoy said he has no plans to resign, as the main opposition has demanded. Instead, he drew attention to Spain’s economy, which is showing signs of a slow recovery.

Ramon Pacheco Pardo from the European and International Studies department at King’s College London said Rajoy is likely to continue with that line of defense.

“I think that the message that is going to come from the government and from the prime minister is that the important thing is economic growth: economic growth is probably coming back, so the population should focus on their own pockets rather than on a scandal,” said Pardo.

Spain’s unemployment rate recently dropped from around 27 percent to 26 percent, the biggest improvement in five years. But with more than one-quarter of the population still out of work, the numbers may not be too cheering, says Pardo.

And as the country struggles through crippling economic troubles and widespread unemployment, allegations that governing party members have received tax-free payments has hit a raw nerve.

“We have a recovery but in any case it is not very quick, it has been quite a slow recovery. But also, even though there is a recovery, this has not reached the general population, so the feeling among workers and job seekers is that the situation has not improved yet or is not improving,” he said.

Jobs remain scarce

Pardo said on a macro level, the economy of the eurozone appears to be improving, albeit slowly.
 
Manufacturing activity is on the rise and in some countries, including Spain, exports are growing.

A worldwide survey of manufacturers published on Thursday showed industrial activity has risen in the eurozone for the first time in two years.

But Pardo said those macro level improvements have hardly been felt on the micro level.

Christian Schweiger, a Europe expert at Durham University, said that until Europeans have jobs, European governments will find it hard to convince their electorates that things are looking up.

In some eurozone countries, youth unemployment is about 40 percent.

“These young people, they find no jobs at home. And they are struggling to find jobs abroad," said Schweiger. "Because more and more of them are looking towards countries like Germany and the UK, and these countries are reluctant to accept the flood of migrant workers coming into their countries.”

He said governments should expect widespread protests emerging if the job market does not turn around.
 
Rajoy’s Popular Party has a strong majority in parliament, having won a clear victory in the 2011 vote.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid