On October 25, 2016, Dr. Arturo Meijide of the Department of Modern Language and Culture of St. Ambrose University presented a lecture “Europe’s Next Greece?: Economic and Political Turmoil in Spain.” St. Ambrose University students, faculty and members of the community attended as Dr. Meijide detailed the causes and consequences of Spain’s 2008 economic crisis that eventually led to a full year without a president, a 23% unemployment rate, and 1 million evictions. The presenter explained how Spain’s predicament caused a domino effect that led many to leave the country in search of quality employment, as well as to accusations of corruption among the political class, and major dissatisfaction among Spanish citizens. He cited the main reasons for dissatisfaction as both socioeconomic, including high unemployment, major cuts in education and healthcare (a 10 billion euro cut each), bailouts for major banks and mass evictions; and political, including the weakening of the two main political parties and the appearance of new political parties, vast corruption, and sovereignty challenges. Indeed, the disappointment in the political class is evidenced by Spain’s 15-M Movement, in which 9 million people protested the austerity measures enacted, which were perceived as pushing the economic burden on the poor and working class.
Dr. Meijide concluded that Spain is not necessarily the “new Greece,” as strides have been taken to stabilize the economy. Yet, Spain certainly has many problems to face, including the presenter’s main concern regarding what he terms the “lost generation” or those who must leave Spain to find quality jobs after college. Overall, Dr. Meijide foresees improvements in the economic climate of Spain, while major challenges remain.
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