Solbes signals Madrid moves away from protectionism

17th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

17 October 2006, MADRID - Spain's economy minister said the country's rising growth should be built on greater economic liberalism and reducing protectionism.

17 October 2006

MADRID - Spain's economy minister said the country's rising growth should be built on greater economic liberalism and reducing protectionism.

Presenting next year's budget to parliament, Pedro Solbes said the growth of the economy during this third quarter was expected to reach 3.7 percent.

And he also claimed the country was seeing the "gradual correction" of its high rate of inflation and external deficit.

Solbes said Spain must employee a "solid economic" model of growth.

Solbes claimed the country was making significant advances in raising productivity, but admitted it was still not satisfactory.

He said it was time to open up Spain to more education and technology.

He said today in Spain two in three people of working age are in employment, proving the economy was healthy.

But the minister admitted there were "important challenges" which needed correcting and some "excesses" like the temporary contract culture which still existed.

But Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative opposition Popular Party, claimed the government had changed the budget almost without challenge.

He also criticised the cash which had been given to the region of Catalonia.

Rajoy claimed this region got more than the rest of Spain.

He also attacked the "ferocious interventionism" of the government in the energy sector, making reference to takeovers like the on-going battle for control of Spain's biggest utility Endesa.

The socialists, with a series of allies from smaller regional parties, got the first round of the budget passed with  171 votes in favour.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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