Recent clashes and demonstrations in Spain clearly indicate how much the southern-European country has been affected by the fallout of the EU economic crisis. Spain is the fifth-largest economy in Europe and the second biggest foreign investor in Latin America, after the United States. The population was regarded as one of the wealthiest in the euro zone, but since the beginning of the recent economic recession, its situation has deteriorated.
In 2006, Spain experienced an economic growth of 3.5 percent, however its huge exposure to bad debt in the housing sector, as well as other financial irregularities, created a crisis in the country. This has resulted in astonishing 24 percent unemployment rate.
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, headed by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, tried its best to enhance social welfare in the country. However, his policies were fiercely criticized by the opposition at that time and he faced many obstacles to implementing his plans.
The Spanish government currently is looking at a huge budget deficit. To meet this challenge, the government has introduced austerity measures to save more than $27 billion. This has increased the pressure on Spanish citizens.
In addition to these local issues, Spain is also a victim of the EU’s political position regarding the Middle East. The Zionist lobby and its pressure on the government to stop financial transactions with countries that are hostile to Israel, especially Iran, is one of other main reasons behind Spain’s current economic situation. Spanish people are paying the price for the decisions adopted by their politicians.
Spain’s commercial relations with Iran contributed significantly to its economy. The politically-motivated decisions adopted by the EU have caused havoc for the Spanish economy. Changing such a politicized mindset is the only way to escape the economic tsunami; otherwise the Europeans, including the Spaniards, will be doomed to suffer the consequences.
Seyyed Davoud Salehi is a political expert on Europe based in Tehran who formerly served as Iran’s ambassador to Madrid.
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