Spain reaction: ‘This is a rescue for the rich. The poor will only get poorer’

Monday, June 11, 2012
By Paul Martin

It has become a common sight at Bankia branches across Spain since the banking group became the first last month to declare it needed a massive injection of funds to shore it up.

By Fiona Govan
10 Jun 2012

Mobs of angry citizens storming branches, banging saucepans and chanting slogans in noisy protests at the plan to rescue Spain’s most stricken banking entity while the population suffers deep austerity measures and struggles against disappearing credit-lines.

But as Spaniards woke up today to the news that the EU had given their banks a lifeline of up to €100bn there was optimism that, at last, something had been done to stop the rot.

“Spain, finally, will be rescued,” screamed the frontpage of Spain’s leading daily newspaper El Pais. “Tragedy for the moment has been averted.”

Even as pundits struggled to explain the about turn by the government which had insisted even hours before the announcement that no such request would be made, Spain’s embattled Prime Minister claimed the agreement as a personal victory.

“Nobody pressured me and I don’t know if I should say this, but it was I who pressured for a line of credit,” said Mr Rajoy. Avoiding use of the word “rescue” he claimed the “opening of credit lines” from the EU was the best possible solution for Spain’s current problems and did not come with any “conditionality” but that Spain would continue on its path of austerity and structural reforms.

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