Zapatero says it's debatable whether there's a crisis
The Spanish prime minister says usage of the word depends on the definition of the word crisis.30 June 2008
MADRID - In an exclusive interview with El Pais published at the weekend, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero continued his refusal to describe the current economic challenges facing Spain as a "crisis," saying that the use of the term was "debatable".
In his first major interview with the newspaper since winning a second term in office for the Socialist party in March, Zapatero covered wide-ranging topics, from immigration and ETA to education and Barack Obama.
However, his thoughts on the economy will be those most scrutinized by the public. When asked if there was a crisis, Zapatero responded saying: "As with everything, it's debatable, and it depends what we understand by the word crisis."
Asked why he avoids using the C-word, he said: "I don't insist on using one word or another. The government is responsible for: firstly, saying that there are difficulties; secondly, explaining why; and thirdly, taking measures, which is what we've done since we took power."
The prime minister went on to give his opinion on what the man on the street felt about the current economic situation. "Citizens feel that the economy is in worse shape than last year. That's what the surveys say, and it's reasonable, because it's true. But concepts such as recession, deceleration and crisis belong more to the academic sector."
The head of the opposition Popular Party (PP) in Andalusia, Javier Arenas, responded angrily to Zapatero's comments on the economy, saying that they were "a serious insult to Spaniards."
Arenas also said that the prime minister was "making fun of all those families who are having a terrible time and can't make ends meet."
[El Pais / Expatica]