On 20 November Spain will hold a general election. This blog will cover it live from Madrid. Over the coming weeks in the build-up to the vote there will be preview posts on this mid-economic crisis European election
“En España no hay nada”
(There is nothing in Spain)
This concise and brutal opinion was how a friend described the employment situation in Spain to me in a trip to the Spanish capital last week. Madrid was buzzing as we sat in a cafe in a busy square between Chueca and Gran Via. It was the last weekend of summer and the warmth of the day carried on into the night. But the rays of sunshine are not lighting the mood among the youth when it comes to job opportunities.
The twenty-something went on to describe to me how, despite having plenty of experience and relevant qualifications in his field to his name, he still found himself banging his head against an immovable job door. There is no easy route to an exit from this crisis.
This weekend, the credit ratings agency Fitch downgraded Spanish debt amid the ongoing lack of resolutions over the Mediterranean monetary maelstrom. The lack of an answer to the crisis is mirrored in Spain by the scarcity of employment opportunities. The indignados movement has exemplified the frustration of many Spaniards and their demonstrations will be discussed in the next special Spanish Election post.
Many of the españoles I met had decided to go back into education, after months of trying to use the first degree they completed to get a job. One educational option is to study a specialist subject to try to set yourself apart from the crowds. But Spain needs a boost to the economy, not class numbers. It is a not problem easily solved by more debt-building through enrolling in futher courses.
Spain’s powerhouse construction sector is faltering. The economy is critically injured. Back in the square with my friend, he paused and looked down at the table, pushed his glass to one side and reiterated firmly:
“I am going to apply to French companies now, and to London as well. En España no hay nada.”