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Elvira Martínez Chacón , Deputy Director of the Center for European programs of study , University of Navarra, Spain

They are late

Thu, 13 May 2010 08:57:38 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

It seems to me that the measures are late, that many are missing and that the president has missed a great opportunity: a few days ago he had a meeting with the leader of the main party of the civil service examination. It would have been a good moment to present an ambitious and complete package of measures to get out of the hole. He did not do it then, he has not done it in the last two years when they were demanded from different institutions, among them, and to avoid the party of the civil service examination, which had offered itself on many occasions, I will mention only one that is not very suspicious of supporting the popular thesis , the Bank of Spain. But the President has lost two years and now it will be more difficult for all of us, perhaps even for him, to face reality.

There is a lack of major structural reforms, which would also have to be taken jointly, as they did in Portugal, and the president should be interested in this, because they are unpopular and he would have to get as much support as possible. He is not doing so, of course. They are reforms of the labor market, the financial system, the system educational, a revision of the Toledo Pact, which has to be very well studied so that those who are now between 25 and 45 years old can take the decisions that will allow them to reach retirement age without any surprises. And some more, including some privatization (RTVE, for example?). Welcome to agreement to unblock mergers of savings banks. And much more transparency in everything. The decision to reduce the salaries of the members of the Government is positive, due to the educational effect it has, although it also comes late and should be accompanied by the elimination of expendable positions and of ministries and Vice-Presidencies that are also of little use. Having said this, I believe that the freezing of civil servants' salaries is inevitable. Perhaps the reduction foreseen for this year could be avoided by eliminating the duplicities that exist between the different administrative levels. The freezing of pensions seems tougher to me, especially considering that the tax increase will translate into a rise in the CPI and will reduce the purchasing power of the most vulnerable.