Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Spain Still Feeling Unloved In Brussels

Spain looks likely to get a hug, but no second base, with the European Council tomorrow. At a pre-Summit briefing in Brussels, Council representatives seemed unwilling to commit to any form of solid review of Spain's deficit reduction plan. 

This morning, Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, said he would wait for budget data before deciding any further review of Spain's deficit reduction targets. The issue looks likely to embarrass Spanish premier, Rajoy, unless a fudged commitment is found which convinces the Spanish electorate that a softer form of austerity will be acceptable to the European head's of state. 

Failing to reconcile long-term budget austerity with immediate social needs risks isolating the Commission and weakening support for the European project. The likelihood is positive sounds but no promises just yet. Spain will continue to feel the pain; sweet talking won't diminish her embarrassed condition.

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