News / Europe

    Spain’s Ruling Party Faces Confidence Crisis

    A demonstrator carries a sign with a mask resembling Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, as they cut off traffic after a protest outside the headquarters of the ruling People's Party (Partido Popular) in Madrid, February 2, 2013.
    A demonstrator carries a sign with a mask resembling Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, as they cut off traffic after a protest outside the headquarters of the ruling People's Party (Partido Popular) in Madrid, February 2, 2013.
    Caroline Arbour
    As Spain's prime minister faces calls to step down amid accusations of corruption, new figures show unemployment rose in January to an all-time high.  London's Financial Times newspaper notes the political scandal couldn't come at a worse time for the country.  

    Spain’s embattled ruling party is in full defense mode, following accusations that the Partido Popular, or PP, kept secret ledgers hiding donations, mostly from construction firms, that were funneled to top officials.

    The party’s deputy secretary, González Pons, told Spanish public television Monday the handwritten ledgers published by the newspaper El País last week, which allegedly show a parallel bookkeeping system, are not credible.

    Allegations of corruption against the PP erupted several years ago, but fingers mostly pointed at local politicians, until now.

    The documents obtained by El País, covering the years 1990 to 2009,  seem to indicate that prior to becoming prime minister, Mariano Rajoy received $34,000 annually, for about a decade.

    Former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas, who has been under investigation since 2009, told Antena 3 television Monday it’s all a sham.

    There were no secret books, he says.

    After a party meeting to discuss the corruption crisis over the weekend, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy denied to reporters having benefited from kickbacks and promised to publish his tax declarations on the Internet.

    But both the small United Left party and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party have called on the prime minister to step down.

    Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba says Rajoy is a burden now.

    In an editorial, London’s Financial Times says the prime minister  “faces the fight of his life,” a scandal that couldn't come at a worse time.

    Unemployment went up 2.7 percent in January over December.

    There are close to 5 million Spaniards out of work now, 8 percent more than at the same time last year.

    Although the austerity measures adopted in the last year have appeased the markets, public support for the government has dropped sharply.

    Faced with trying to pull Spain out of the worst economic crisis of its democratic history, the government now has to manage a crisis of confidence.

    Mariano Rajoy couldn’t escape questions on the issue in Berlin today.

    Visiting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the prime minister reiterated vigorously that the allegations against him are untrue and that he remains committed as ever to steer Spain towards recovery.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.