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The Challenges Facing the ‘New’ Spain SOLD OUT

Saturday 1 April 2017

1 Hour


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Madrid-based writer William Chislett looks at the uncertain political, economic and social situation in Spain.

Two upstart parties, the far-left Unidos Podemos and the centrist liberal Ciudadanos, upended the stable two-party system of the conservative Popular Party (PP) and the centre-left Socialists that alternated in power for more than 30 years. The economy is out of a prolonged recession but the jobless rate is still close to 20%. The ageing population and high unemployment are eroding the viability of the pensions system, and after years of austerity the country still has a fiscal deficit that breaches European Union rules. The government of Catalonia plans to hold a referendum in September on seceding from Spain. Other challenges include cleaning up corruption in the political class and reforming an education system whose early school-leaving rate is around double the EU average.

Chislett has lived in Spain since 1986. He covered the country’s transition to democracy (1975-78) for The Times. He writes about Spain for the Elcano Royal Institute, Spain’s main think tank, which has published four books of his on the country.