In Spain’s elections, the conservative Popular Party (PP) swept to victory. Despite Mariano Rajoy’s overwhelming win, the future promises more suffering than joy for the battered nation.
The defeat of the Socialists reflects Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero’s inability to tackle the blows of the global economic collapse. Spain has Europe’s highest unemployment rate, 21%, and 40% of its young people cannot find a job. It also has one of the region’s worst deficits as a percentage and 1 million people are at risk of eviction because of the real estate bubble.
Given all this, it is no coincidence that Spain is the third most affected country by the crisis, after Greece and Italy, which is also changing its government.
Nevertheless, the PP’s triumph did not decrease the financial pressure from the euro zone, of which only Germany appears to be free.
This outlook is very worrisome for the United States. A severe European recession will hurt U.S. exports, depriving our country of foreign currency income. At the same time, the liquidity problems of European banks will be felt on the opposite end of the Atlantic Ocean because of the international financial system’s high degree of integration.
While the news from Europe are not good, the ones from Washington are not better. The absence of a deficit reduction agreement from the legislative super committee adds more failure and uncertainty to the global economic outlook.
There are no miracles in Spain, Europe or the United States. Emerging from the crisis is connected to making sacrifices in the form of reduced budgets and cuts to the social benefits network. We will have to wait and see whether Spaniards have the patience to accept the bitter medicine they voted for on Sunday.