Spanish ministers called home for urgent meetings
The government ministers will put their summer vacations on hold and return to Madrid for two days to seek solutions for deepening crisis.13 August 2008
MADRID - In a rare move, government ministers will put their summer vacations on hold and return to Madrid today for two meetings aimed at tackling Spain's rapidly worsening economic crisis.
The meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday of the Delegate Commission on Economic Affairs and of the Council of Ministers, both to be chaired by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, are intended to send a message to increasingly concerned citizens that the government is paying close attention to the economy.
Conceived as a way to counter opposition claims that the Socialist administration is burying its head in the sand, the meetings are expected to result in a number of new proposals to stimulate growth and employment as Spain reels from the combined onslaught of a weakening property market, a deepening credit crunch and spiralling inflation.
Four measures in particular are due to be given the green light during the unusual mid-August sessions, including signing into law the abolition of the Wealth Tax and putting into practice an agreement to lessen the bureaucratic hurdles for small businesses.
In addition, the administration is expected to start work on transposing the European Directive on Services into national law, allowing more cross-border competition in a range of professions from lawyers to hairdressers.
It will also look at ways to speed up the processing of environmental impact studies in a bid to accelerate the approval of new infrastructure projects - one of the few methods the government has at its disposal to boost employment in the flagging construction industry.
[El Pais / Expatica]