Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told a meeting of the country’s largest employers association, the CEOE, on Monday that more economic reforms are to come, but did not go into any further detail.
He simply said the reforms would be “difficult” and would arrive “soon, before the end of the year”, adding that the government was willing to “correct what needs to be corrected and reform what needs reforming”.
Rajoy also called for the EU countries to decide on the measures necessary to save the euro and deal with the banking and sovereign debt crisis.
“The political message must be emphatic and the calendar for integration needs to be clear,” he said, after stating that one of his objectives was the creation of “a joint European agency for debt and issues” – that is, eurobonds. CEOE president Juan Rosell called on the government to go even further than it already has with labour market reforms.
Later this week, Parliament is due to approve wide-ranging changes to the labour laws which, among other things, make it cheaper to fire employees. Rosell said: “We need to make the Spanish labour market one of the most flexible in Europe.”
Rosell also played down the problem of unemployment in Spain, which is currently running at 24.3 percent.
“When we talk about Spain, and we compare it with other countries, it would be good if we made a few observations: firstly that our figures include the early-retired as unemployed; secondly, that the use of part-time contracts here is half the figure in Germany; thirdly, that the rate of women in work has risen 18 points in 30 years; fourth, that of the 10 million foreigners who entered the EU 15 countries between 1998 and 2008, 50 per cent of them came to Spain.”