Speaking at an event organised by the Chambers of Commerce of Andalusia, the President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, maintained that the fiscal consolidation and structural reform policies implemented by the Government, together with the strengths of the Spanish economy, have enabled Spain to return to growth and job creation.
Rajoy stressed that, following the serious difficulties of the first half of the legislature, 2014 has been the year in which a change can be seen in the economic situation in Spain, and he went on to reiterate the Government’s commitment to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
During his speech at the Antares Club in Seville last week, he said: “I am optimistic about the evolution of the Spanish economy. I believe that things are improving and will continue to improve in the future. And I am so for two main reasons. The first, because the figures we are starting to see show that the worst is now behind us, and that a clear change in trend is now taking place in terms of the situation of our economy. And the second reason – which for me is more important than the first – is that I believe in the many strengths of our country, of Spain”.
Rajoy highlighted the consolidation of the improvements in the main macro-economic indicators – from a fall in the public deficit and in the risk premium, to an increase in exports, foreign investment and the sale of cars and property – and said that “improvements are also taking place that can actually be felt by the people”.
He pointed out that the most important change which is being seen is in terms of growth and employment, and said that in the first quarter of the year, Spain was the eurozone country to enjoy the second highest growth, and for the first time since the start of the crisis recorded improvements in unemployment figures and in numbers of National Insurance contributors in year-on-year terms.
Mariano Rajoy forecast that the Spanish economy will grow by 1.2% in 2014 and by 1.8% in 2015, and emphasised that both the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have revised their forecasts upwards for Spain. He said: “I am absolutely convinced that by the end of this term of office, there will be more people in work, more people paying National Insurance contributions and fewer people unemployed than at the start”.
Rajoy went on to say that the most important thing is that “the structural reforms that have been introduced will lay the bases to ensure that it is impossible to see a repeat of the crisis suffered by Spain”, and proof of that, in his opinion, is that next year will be better than 2014 but not as good as 2016. In order to ensure this trend continues, the Government will persevere with its reforms, particularly the tax reform – which is soon to be approved by the Council of Ministers – and those that come under the Growth, Competitiveness and Efficiency Plan.
Rajoy then reaffirmed the Government’s awareness of the importance of small- and medium-sized enterprises for creating jobs and wealth, saying: “Economic recovery will consolidate in Spain when the SMEs and independent contractors consolidate their recovery”. Specific measures that the Government has adopted to support SMEs were reviewed, such as the Supplier Payment Plan, the Regional Liquidity Fund and the flat rate National Insurance contribution, and he also expressed his willingness to undertake new initiatives, particularly relating to the credit situation, which he said is “one of the pending tasks on which we must continue to work”.