Yesterday morning I was invited to take part in a live debate on Antenna 3 (Spain’s equivalent  of ITV). Every morning after the news they have a current affairs debate programme called Espejo Publico and it is extremely popular. Yesterday, one of the topics on the agenda was this week’s article in the Financial Times which criticised Spain for its labour laws and continuing unemployment.

I, along with the editor of the New York Times in London and another editor of a German newspaper, which I will not name, were invited to give our opinions of the current economic situation in Spain as foreign correspondents to the pundits in the studio.
All three of us said our pieces, I highlighted the fact that Spain needs to move away from being so dependent on tourism and look towards expanding its industry, which in turn will lead to a more skilled workforce in long term, if not full-time contracts, as opposed to temporary seasonal ones related to the tourist industry - the reason for the recent fall in the number of unemployed to four million.

I added that businesses are still lacking that confidence to start employing again and that unemployment will rise once the summer season comes to an end.

All said and done, my “colleague” from Germany also focused on tourism, however he went a bit too far and told millions of Spanish viewers that “Spain is a country of waiters”.

You can imagine the reaction in the studio. The Spanish pundits went for the German and no one else could get a word in edge ways. So, that is apparently what the Germans think of Spain.