At their traditional summer meeting in Marivent, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Felipe VI discussed the improved unemployment figures, the General State Budget for 2016 and other issues related to illegal immigration and international relations.
At an appearance before the media after last Friday’s meeting, Rajoy said that the employment and social security figures published this past week were very positive, but that a great effort still needs to be made because “it is necessary for many more people to have the chance of finding a job”.
He also pointed out that the General State Budget for 2016, approved at the latest Council of Ministers, maintains the same broad strokes of economic policy and the same objectives for this term of office: definitively overcoming the crisis, generating economic growth and creating jobs.
According to Rajoy, “the worst moments of this crisis are now behind us”, although we are still suffering from many after-effects and the government must strive and persevere with the policies that have been set in motion.
The Prime Minister asserted that, after various years of negative growth, the Spanish economy grew by 1.4% last year and will grow by 3.3% this year. “We will be the Eurozone country to enjoy the greatest economic growth and job creation is also on the rise”. In this regard, he pointed out that 440,000 people found a job last year and the forecast is for another 600,000 this year.
“The lines of economic policy are the same that we have maintained throughout this term of office, although now, as a result of improved economic activity and increased revenues, our margins are more comfortable and we can do things that we were unable to do over the course of the last few years”, he added.
Rajoy announced that the government will continue with its reformist policy because “this has led to results” and it will continue controlling public spending because we still need to lower it in line with our commitment to Europe.
Social spending and pensions
Rajoy recalled that more than 53% of the General State Budget is given over to social spending and that savings will be made under various headings, such as unemployment, thanks to the lower number of unemployed and the reduction in servicing debt.
He also recalled that pensions will be increased slightly, as has happened each year, and that public worker salaries will be increased by 1% next year, which will continue in the future “if the economic situation so allows”.
On another note, Rajoy and King Felipe VI reviewed the progress of Operation Strait of Gibraltar, which is facilitating the movement of 2.5 million people, as well as issues related to illegal immigration and the presence of Spanish military personnel in Turkey under the NATO mandate.