And this less than enthusiastic coverage was from a news organization sympathetic to Zapatero's socialist party! Imagine what the center and right leaning media wrote!!“Crisis? What crisis? 'A difficult scenario', 'a difficult period of adjustment' or 'a deep deceleration of the economy'. These are some of the terms the president of the government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, employed yesterday when referring to the current state of Spain's economy, which receives a blow each time a new economic indicator is revealed. The president attributes the deterioration to external factors (increased oil and food prices). Still, he announced a package of 'structural reforms' to make things more tolerable. There is nothing new in this battery of urgent measures..Unemployment is on the rise, inflation has gotten out of control, sales of homes have collapsed, sales of cars cannot even get off the ground, and the gross domestic product is losing wind. But Zapatero resists thinking that this is a crisis situation....The measures were neither new nor quantified. ...one consists of a 30% reduction of administrative charges that businesses bear. [However,] This was an action that had been announced in April of 2007...with the aim of lowering bureaucratic costs by 2012... ...other plans [included enhancing] railway competition and energy sharing with France.”
Most distressing to me was the revelation that this “plan” is to be incorporated into a national program of reforms which will be presented to the European Commission in October. A lot can happen between now and October!! What is the government planning on doing to address the so-called “difficult scenario” before then -- more thumb twiddling?!!!
Perhaps the most interesting part of the El País report was the following:
“Microphones are treacherous -- above all when they are on without the speakers' knowledge. That was the case yesterday with the President of the Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and the owner of Planeta Publishing Corp., José Manuel Lara, who before the presentation made several recommendations regarding the crisis, as recorded by Channel Four:
Lara: 'For the time being, [the crisis] is not going to stop. I am afraid it's going to get worse in the second half of the year. That's what I fear.'
Zapatero: 'It's not clear'
Lara: 'I would advise that you not burn yourself...'
Lara: 'You shouldn't speak; have [Finance Minister] Solbes speak. You shouldn't burn yourself, because it could look bad as president'.
Zapatero: 'There is another factor you have to consider. That is, if you instill a lot of pessimism, if you don't say anything positive...'
Lara (interrupting him) : 'No, no, you make the crisis worse, yes, yes. ..'
Zapatero: 'That's what we're doing.'
Lara: '...but let the the Economy Minister, the Industry Minister affect optimism and the president be reserved. That's what I mean.' ”