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Zapatero outlines the future

Published on 17/03/2004

17 March 2004

MADRID – José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain’s new premier, denied Wednesday the 11 March terrorist attack brought his victory at the polls.

But he did concede the way the crisis was handled by Jose Maria Aznar’s government served as a catalyst for more Spaniards to vote and helped the Socialists.

Meanwhile, Zapatero outlined his priorities for the new government.

They included creating a new Housing Ministry — one of the Socialists’ electoral promises was to build affordable housing.

Other initiatives were opening Inland Revenue offices in all the autonomous communities, introducing gradual income tax reforms, starting a driving licence based on a points system, and revising the controversial National Hydrological Plan (NHP).

The NHP involves diverting water from the River Ebro in Catalonia, north-east Spain, to southern parts of the country which do not have enough water.

Aznar’s government has insisted it will solve a water crisis, but ecologists have criticised the plan, claiming it will harm the river delta and damage the environment.
On immigration, Zapatero aims to achieve social and political consensus among the government, autonomous communities, business and labour unions.

He also promised to modify the current formula of quotas for countries which have an agreement with Spain.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news