The Spanish government has spent the last four years telling anyone who would listen that there was a need for economic austerity to get the economy back on track. And to some extent the Spanish government led by Prime Minister Rajoy has been successful and the economy is back on track. But Rajoy has stressed the need for higher taxes to keep the budget deficit under control. He has recently announced that taxes on tobacco and alcohol will rise.

So, I was rather amazed to read that he said that Europe’s political mainstream need to tone down its austerity drive and focus more on growth if it wants to fight off the populist movements spreading across the continent. Good point, Sr. Rajoy, but why don't you practise what you preach? The austerity drive introduced by Rajoy led to a surge in support for Podemos, the party born out of the anti-austerity movement. At one stage it appeared that Podemos were on course to be the second major force in Spanish politics. At the moment they are a close third to the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). They claim that their success was based on the austerity drive launched by Rajoy.

Now, I do believe that Rajoy has helped balance the books in Spain and the economy has recovered thanks to his money-saving drive. But it is rather rich when he questions the need for austerity when millions of Spaniards have been widely hit by his tough money-saving plans and projects.

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Simon Tow / Hace over 3 years

Balance the books ????. Over the past few years the national debt has increased by 60% to currently be near 100% of the GDP, the pension pot has been virtually wiped out, the EU had to "lend" Spain a huge amount of money to keep the bankng system afloat and has been buying Spanish bonds to keep the economy going. When a country or government´s only solution to tackle these problems is increasing taxes instead of lowering costs ( 17 mini states etc etc ) it is ultimately bound to fail. As far as I am concerned we are living on borrowed time as the piggy bank has been broken and the proceeds already spent.

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