Spanish minister Luis de Guindos discusses the economy

Doubts Fade as Competitiveness Increases

17/07/2013 Barcelona

Luis de Guindos y Jordi Canals

"A year ago many doubts remained as to whether Spain could extricate itself from this situation and whether it was able to compete, but this year I believe these doubts have disappeared," Luis de Guindos, the Spanish finance and competition minister told a Continuous Education session in Barcelona, the last of this academic year. The session, titled "The Spanish Economy: Current Situation and Outlook," was moderated by IESE Dean Jordi Canals.

At the meeting, organized by the Alumni Association, the minister said he was "cautiously optimistic" that there were "positive signs" in the Spanish economy in the second half of the year. "It’s competitive and has the capacity to grow. The road will be long and hard but the worst is behind us," he said.

More positive view of Spain

He said that Spain was being viewed in a more positive light thanks to receding fears that the euro would break up, the Greek rescue plan and moves towards banking union.

The Spanish labor market has stopped destroying jobs, he said, the banking system is much more solvent and the international community has noticed that Spain is more competitive. "No other EU country is growing at the same speed this year," he said.

Signs of recovery

He listed several indicators that the recovery has begun. Firstly there has been a recovery in exports which he said "is going to continue, and that’s not the case in all European countries." He added that domestic demand has stabilized and that employment figures are "corrective."

"Compared to 2010, the chance of recovery is better because we have adjusted the imbalances: we are more competitive, the banking system is stronger and the Spanish economy is more flexible," he said, adding that "we have to make the most of our strengths."

"Within a year we will without doubt be talking about the recovery of the Spanish economy," De Guindos said. Canals brought the session to a close by thanking the minister for this "quite optimistic news."