Saturday, 26 November 2011
CiU and Southern European fiscal responsibility
A slightly peculiar aspect of Swedish political correctness which I have discovered only during the ongoing financial crisis is that while it would not at all be acceptable to argue that immigrants living in Sweden are too lazy for hard work, it is perfectly legitimate to write that Southern Europeans might not have the intention to be responsible for their national finances. And while Angela Merkel’s resistance to Euro bonds angers José Manuel Barroso and Nicolas Sarkozy, she can count on strong support – occasionally bordering admiration – in Swedish media. Most Swedes share the German voters’ lack of trust that the Euro countries now facing financing problems will in the end adopt tough savings and reform programs. We clearly live in times when the old prejudice (?) that Northern Europe is industrious and thrifty, while the Southern part prefers fiesta and siesta, is growing stronger and stronger.
With this as a background you might understand why I was so positively surprised with the Catalan results in the Spanish general elections. While the absolute majority for PP was a signal that the whole of Spain sees the need for change, the way you voted here went one step further. For the first time ever did CiU become the biggest political party in Catalonia, although the last year with this force ruling the Generalitat has been dominated by budget cuts. I mean, how many times have we not seen protests against the closing of primary care units or even big demonstrations and strikes among health care workers (the latest one just a few days before last Sunday)?
Given this situation, you could have all opted for PP and thereby expressed your discontent with how the socialists have governed Spain while at the same time signaling that CiU has been too brutal in cleaning up after the Tripartit. However, you did not. Of the 47 Catalan seats in the Spanish parliament, CiU will now hold 16, up from 10 (!). (PSC will hold 14 (-11!) and PP 11 (+3). Even here in our “red” Vilanova i la Geltrú did 28,37% of the electorate vote for CiU compared with 19,93% in 2008.
As I see it, you demonstrated your understanding that CiU does what needs to be done - you voted for the change to continue (Mai millor dit! Ping: PSC Vilanova i la Geltrú)! That was an encouraging confirmation that at least one little part of Southern Europe is committed to fiscal responsibility. I promise to do my best to convey that message to my fellow Swedes.
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Interesting media links:
CAT - Ara: Eleccions 220-N, dades
CAT - Ara: Boi Ruiz obre la porta a una nova retallada a Salut en plena vaga
GER - Handelsblatt: Merkel ist kein Bond-Girl
SPA - Expansión: Rajoy debe mirar a Barcelona y entenderse con Mas
SWE - Dagens Nyheter: Euroobligationer: Barroso gapar över mycket