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Spain’s Crisis: The State of Play

Sunday 29 March 2015

1 Hour


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Ticket price

Spain, the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy, is out of its long recession, but the unemployment rate is still more than 23%, around 2.4 million people have been jobless for more than two years and youth unemployment is put at 55%.

The country has also been awash in a spate of corruption scandals, mainly affecting the ruling Popular Party and the opposition Socialists but also the royal family. The population is falling too, due to increased emigration. As if this was not enough, Catalonia, the richest region, is pushing for independence, and a new radical anti-establishment political party, Podemos (‘We can’) has emerged and looks set to be the second or third largest party when elections are held by the end of 2015. This would end the two-party system that has dominated Spain since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975. Podemos was born out of the grass roots movement of los indignados (the indignant ones).

A veteran of the Spanish scene, journalist and writer William Chislett seeks to explain how the country manages to cope in such circumstances and where it is going. King Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 in favour of his son, Felipe VI, who faces a different set of challenges to those of his father who steered Spain’s transition to democracy so successfully.

Chislett covered the transition to democracy between 1975 and 1978 for The Times and was Mexico correspondent for the Financial Times between 1978 and 1984. He writes about Spain for the Real Instituto Elcano in Madrid and has published several books on the country. Chislett speaks at another festival event on Arturo Barea.

This event is part of the Spanish strand at this year’s festival.