More than half its young people are unemployed, a double-dip recession has left the economy 7% smaller than it was five years ago, and debt has soared to nearly 100% of GDP. But Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, believes his country has turned the corner and can hope for better things in 2014, following its worst economic crisis since the Franco era.
In an interview with the Guardian and partner newspapers from Spain, Italy, France and Germany, Rajoy said the incipient turnaround proved that his austerity efforts “have made sense”.
“Last year, the debate was over when Spain would get a bailout, and this year the debate is over when Spain will recover,” Rajoy said. He based his optimism on recent unemployment figures which showed that the number of jobseekers had fallen in November for the first time, following positive signs in October.
“Since June 2007, the difference in the unemployment numbers for the corresponding month of the year before has been getting worse and worse and worse. There was a moment, in 2009, when comparing January 2009 and January 2008, one million extra people had registered as unemployed,” he said.
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