Thought Babble

What Spain Expects From the EU

Photo courtesy of the European Commission.

As in previous crises, the Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the lack of economic “punch” that we have in Spain. Here, our commitment to tourism means that if we do not reverse it soon, that we remain at the mercy of the so-called frugal countries

Just to confirm, we are neither lazy nor subsidised. If we are in the European Union, it is in order to both help and, to be helped. With the previous crisis, we saw the most conservative wing of our country cutting back again and again on rights and social improvements. From the old continent, they asked for men in black and we did it: less public health, worse education and a crippling cut to basic services.

Now we are facing a new crisis, and this time its global. Europe seems to have learned its lesson, that helping a country does not mean doing so only on the economic side. Along with the millions of euros must come education. There is no point in our having obtained a juicy slice of the Coronavirus rescue fund for Spain in these negotiations, if in subsequent negotiations and in the post-crisis period, (which will follow) we do not have a strong European public opinion to put pressure on its politicians to help us.

This is how this European Union works. It is the voice and the democratic instrument of each of the countries that make it up. If the democracies of these countries are sick and overrun by extremism, we will not strengthen the continental union for which so many have fought –  and which now seems doomed to fail.

We run the risk of provoking more “Brexits” if we do not have a firm commitment to truthful information. We must ask ourselves what has happened in Britain to make half the population unhappy with the way the Union is run? We could also think about what happened to the Greek left to become so dissatisfied with a project they previously applauded. In the end, the union of the peoples can either remain a reluctant obligation, or be what it claims…

At the last summit for an economic reactivation fund after the crisis of Covid-19 we saw two very different sides. The northern countries, led by the Netherlands, which wanted each country to emerge from the crisis with its own resources, and the southern countries, which sought a joint economic response. Certainly, the countries that have been most affected by this pandemic are those of the south.

However, they may take comfort in the possibility that soon the effects, like dominoes, will reach everyone – and we could well experience a crisis of proportions never seen since the end of the Second World War.

A Strong Community is Key

We are riding into a globalised world where the spheres of power are further away from the citizens. The fact that the decision-making centres are moving further and further away from the ordinary citizen is very bad news, which is why we need the independence that small groups such as municipalities or regions provide. In turn, these groupings, if they are to be called such, must be heard at every end of Europe.

The reverberations of the clamour of the Andalusian countryside must not reach the European Parliament; they must be heard loud and clear and taken into account. Just as every corner of Scandinavia or Italian Tuscany must be weighed up. The response of Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, is simply not adequate.

Spain and other countries around us cannot manage this alone. We need the help of the community. This statement gains weight when, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics, our country received 83 million visitors in 2019. This stratospheric figure speaks for itself of what tourism means in a country of 47 million inhabitants…

Now, the ball is in our court. We must know how to invest that money. The Spanish government seems to have made a firm commitment to social aid with the ERTE. This aid means an influx of capital for companies and workers who have been forced to stop their economic activity.

Bread Today, Hunger Tomorrow…

Helping our tourism sector must be one of our priorities, as must changing our country’s economic model and focusing more on industry. We cannot leave behind so many families who live off the visits of foreigners. Waiters, guides, hotels… the list is endless and it certainly is because our country deserves it.

However, with this money for reconstruction after this disaster that the Covid-19 has caused, we cannot continue to depend on tourists, it is our duty to make a transition towards new ways of enriching ourselves and making our country grow like renewable energies, always with a view to the social benefits that these can bring.

3 Replies to “What Spain Expects From the EU

  1. Spain ALWAYS received from EU without giving anything in return. Whast has been the contribution to Spain? and how can you justify that a country that has received for almost 4 decades and keeps receiving, has to be favoured again against countries which are poorer, Easter Europe.
    Every time the wind blows, Spain falls and has to ask for Europe Solidarity. Always easy to claim the EU Solidarity when it is about receiving and not giving.
    FInancial Crisis 2008-2012, Spain with its Property Bubble fell down. 2020, different crisis and Spain again perform way below his peers and has to be saved again.
    As a EU citizen, i do not see why I should accept my tax to flow to another country when there is so much poverty in my own one.
    Covid is a hudge challenge for all countries, and favouring again Spain is unfair.

    1. Hello Alexis, thank you for your time to answer.
      “Spain has received 59,731 million euros from the EU between 2013 and 2017, 10.24% of the total effective community payments to the Member States, while it has contributed 53,705 million euros to the EU budget, on the 8, 17% of the total. ” Estrada A. Hoy Internacional.
      Our Union has to be seen as what it is, a Union. We need each other, is completely understandable that you have that feeling of rage and anger against Spain but our country has also given large quantities of money in the past.

      In the founding charter of this organization, the principles by which we must abide are clear “Conscious of its spiritual and moral patrimony, the Union is founded on indivisible values ​​and
      principles of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity, and is based on the principles of
      democracy and the rule of law ”

      We also have a lot of poverty. I recommend you read this article https://elpais.com/politica/2020/02/14/actualidad/1581695225_597400.html
      It’s not about who needs it more or less, it’s about giving to whoever needs it. Anyway, I understand your point of view and before answering you I have consulted various articles to be able to answer knowing what ´s what. If you want to see some of them I´ve attached them below. Thank you very much for your time Alexis.

      https://www.eae.es/actualidad/notas-de-prensa/espana-es-el-quinto-pais-que-mas-contribuye-al-presupuesto-de-la-ue-en-2019
      https://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_es.pdf
      https://www.elperiodico.com/es/internacional/20191105/la-contribucion-anual-de-espana-al-presupuesto-de-la-ue-aumentara-un-17-7715665
      https://www.20minutos.es/noticia/3632861/0/como-se-financia-presupuesto-union-europea-elecciones/
      https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/countries/member-countries/spain_es

  2. Dear Arturo,
    many thanks for your reply. I will not enter in a polemic around figures. Truth is Spain has received a lot.
    https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20100612/espana-recibido-europa-25-anos-mas-dinero-toda-europa-plan-marshall/335058.shtml
    This country seems not to have used this chance and solidarity efficiently. Economic model was the easy to implement one: Construction and Tourism; but the country does not produce enough to support its spendings and has to periodically supported.
    I am coming from France and am aware of the positive contribution of EU to the wealth of my country. I am married to a spanish woman so that i have close tights to Spain and got to know his history, his beautiful sides but also his darker ones and weaknesses; but this is another topic.
    If the EU has to treat its different member fairly, not equally, then it can not accept to constantly favour one of its members; a country such as Portugal did more for the stability of the bloc; and if i were from an east european country i would vote against this community which give a premia to its worse members. It is like giving a Prize to the Alumnus who performed worst.

    TIme will tell if this construct is doomed to fail or if this one-side solidarity will be enforced against the people will. After more than 2 centuries, the North of Italy does not accept the wealth transfers to the South and this plays against the cohesion and the feeling of Nation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *