It’s all over the news. We talk about it in our Global Context class. Sometimes I hear info from my Spanish classmates and English conversation group. It’s the first thing you see on TV once you turn it on.
News staples are: government austerity measures, the stock market (here they call it ibex35), European Union’s take on Greece bailout or eventual exit from Euro peppered with reports on protests. Recently I have read news that Cyprus might also need a bailout because of the liquidity problems in their banks. The European Union is facing tough times ahead especially those in the Eurozone.
Digging this interactive EU recession map of Reuters. Click here. Europe in crisis
I haven’t actually felt the extent of the crisis – of unemployment – in particular since I’m not working (yet) here. A factor could be because I’m living in Navarra which is actually the 2nd region with least unemployment in the whole of Spain. Sure there are protests here in Pamplona, Navarra’s capital, and are actually common but what I see apart from the once to twice a month friendly protests in the streets are the normal day-to-day activities of a quaint Spanish town: moms pushing their babies in their prams, people who take out their dogs for a walk, teenagers out in the parks, dads fetching their kids from school, old people congregating in the bars. This certainly doesn’t paint an accurate picture of a country gripped in crisis but current statistics show there’s 24% unemployment rate at the moment. My jaw literally dropped in shock seeing this on the news. Okay I’m not a math whiz but that figure is really high. Now doing the math, with a population of 46.9 million, that puts the number of unemployed people to 1.2 million. !Qué horror!
Budget cuts from the government were directed at education and health. I feel for the student population. Recent graduates here can hardly get a job and now money that is supposed to safeguard their education will just not be available anymore. They are adamant and taking to the streets their protests.
And in full force of Murphy’s law, in addition to the financial crisis, recession has been confirmed and forecast for the entire year is bleak.
Next year I am set to do my internship. With it, the fervent hope that Spain find its way to recovery.