Daily Archives: May 1, 2012

Gideon Rachman

François Hollande, the Socialist candidate and frontrunner for the French presidency. Getty Images

François Hollande, the Socialist candidate and frontrunner for the French presidency. Getty Images

If François Hollande duly wins the French presidency on Sunday night, there is a good argument that he will be an “accidental president”. Until Dominique Strauss-Kahn was caught up in a sex scandal he, not Hollande, had been the strong favourite to be the Socialist Party nominee for the presidency. Read more

Esther Bintliff

Luisa Pinales, who could no longer make mortgage payments after her business closed in 2007, sweeps her apartment in Madrid on March 5, 2012. She was evicted on April 27. The graffiti reads "Stop eviction". REUTERS/Juan Medina

Last week it emerged that almost one in four Spaniards is unemployed.  For young people, the situation is worse – the jobless rate among under 25-year-olds has reached an eye-watering 52 per cent. As incomes have fallen, many householders find it more difficult to keep up with their mortgage payments; eviction notices – like the one received in January by Luisa Pinales, pictured above – have been served. Meanwhile, the centre-right government of Mariano Rajoy is hewing desperately to a programme of austerity, in the hopes of meeting an EU-imposed target of reducing Spain’s budget deficit to 3 per cent of gross domestic product in 2013. To get a sense of how difficult that will be, consider that in 2011, Spain’s budget deficit was 8.5 per cent of GDP. Investors in the sovereign debt markets can sense the scale of the challenge, and have demanded a higher premium for lending to the beleaguered government. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Spanish unemployment is nearing 25 per cent. The suicide rate is climbing in Greece. Britain is in a double-dip recession. Amid all this pain, the cry is growing louder. Austerity policies in Europe are dangerous. Someone has to stop this madness.