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Revisited

A decade on, Spain still haunted by economic crisis

France 24

Ten years ago, Spain was hit by a severe economic crisis. A million Spaniards moved abroad in search of a better life and the country’s traditional two-party system took a beating. Our correspondent takes a closer look at what has changed: Although economic indicators paint a rosier picture today, austerity has left its mark and job insecurity is on the rise.

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Ten years ago, Spain was crippled by one of the worst economic crises in its history. When the housing bubble burst, several whole sections of the Spanish economy collapsed. Almost half of under-25s found themselves without a job. Unable to pay their mortgages, half a million families were evicted from their homes.

Political and economic renewal

Deemed responsible for the crisis, the two mainstream political parties – the centre-left Socialist party and conservative People’s Party – lost ground. The emergence of new outfits like the far-left Podemos or centre-right Ciudadanos party dealt a blow to the two-party system, which had dominated Spanish politics for decades.

Today, after years of austerity, the Spanish economy is faring better. Spain is currently the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone and GDP growth exceeds 3 percent. The real estate market has also bounced back.

These positive indicators have prompted many young graduates, who had left during the crisis to find work abroad, to return home.

Looking behind the numbers

But although unemployment fell in Spain, it was at the expense of job security.

In 2012, under the Conservative government of Mariano Rajoy, a major labour reform was passed in a bid to make the job market more flexible. But it has led to a fall in wages and to job insecurity.

Last month, by decree, the Socialist government approved a 22 percent increase in the minimum wage from 2019. The move appears a first step in restoring trust between Spain’s political class and disillusioned citizens.

A report by Mélina Huet. Camera: Rémi Cadoret and Maxime Rousseau. Video editing: Rémi Cadoret.

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