The European Union on the verge.
Since the granddaddy of all housing bubbles popped in Spain between 2008 and 2009, unleashing one of the deepest recessions in living memory, the nation’s public debt has more than doubled, from just over 40% of GDP to almost exactly 100% today. Last year, despite the fact that Spain grew faster than almost any other European economy, the government managed to rack up a deficit of 5.2%, one full percentage point above the target that it had set itself a year earlier and over three percentage points above the Eurozone average.
It’s the third-highest deficit-to-GDP ratio in the Eurozone after Greece and Portugal. That’s some claim for Europe’s supposed economic success story.
This is the eighth consecutive year that Spain has overshot its fiscal target. Originally, the Spanish government was supposed to get its deficit back below the EU’s sacred limit of 3% of GDP by 2013. When it became clear during the darkest days of the crisis that it would be impossible, the deadline was extended by a year. A year later, Madrid had made so little progress that it got a further two-year extension, to 2016.
But still there’s no sign of progress. None of which should come as a surprise. As WOLF STREET warned in October, it was plain as day that the Spanish government would fail to rein in its spending during the run-up to a tightly fought general election. Brussels was completely aware of this fact and did nothing to address it, for an obvious reason: political expedience…
Continue reading the article at WOLF STREET