Despite many meetings with European leaders to stop the contagion, the economic crisis in Europe is spreading quickly and with severe consequences.
Spain is the most recent target for a European bailout. Last week, European leaders promised hundreds of billions of euros to Spain to help calm the situation. But with massive government debt and more than 24 per cent unemployment, will the Spanish people get through this?
Jose Luis Zapatero, Spain’s former prime minister, left office last year as the crisis was taking hold. He called for elections in the hope that a new government would be able to take control of the situation and decided not to run for another term himself.
Before the most recent bailout promises were made to Spain’s banks Talk to Al Jazeera met Zapatero to discuss what has been described as the most difficult political crisis facing the world right now.
Does the former prime minister feel any responsibility for the high rate of unemployment in Spain and for the state of the country’s banking sector?
Zapatero says: “If we had saved more and borrowed less from abroad, we would have suffered less.”
And, is the eurozone’s collapse just a matter of time?
“The euro is going through a very complicated moment, it is a very serious crisis, but Europe is stronger than the crisis. We know that the seriousness of the crisis requires time …. It will take years to overcome.
“We are in a really bad situation, especially in Europe, but we managed to walk the path of growth and progress – and we will be able to do it again. I have absolutely no doubt about the future of Spain and Europe, the economy is going to recover, and we are going to keep the welfare and we are going to make sure that no generation is lost.
“It is going to take time and now there are people that are really suffering, but we are not going to allow the European and Spanish society to remain behind and this is the biggest asset of democracy. Democracy suffers from the crisis as well but it always overcomes a big crisis and it always has a future.”
|This episode of Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen on Al Jazeera English at the following times GMT: Saturday, June 16: 0430; Sunday, June 17: 0830, 1930; and Monday, June 18: 1430.|