SPANISH PM Mariano Rajoy has just announced a 3% VAT rise from 18%-21%, and a series of austerity measures that will cut the Spanish budget by 65bn euros (£51bn), down to 6.5% of GDP over two years.
The price for this will no doubt be an extra million on Spain’s current 5 million unemployed total.
Rajoy made his announcement of savage new cuts at the same time as hundreds of miners arrived in Madrid after marching hundreds of miles from the Asturias since June 22, battling the police and other state forces on the way.
The miners are angry at plans to close the coal industry, and tens of thousands of workers marched with them through the streets of Madrid yesterday after the Rajoy austerity measures were announced.
Miners from Asturias in northern Spain have been on strike since May, occupying pits underground and fighting for the survival of their mining towns, threatened with a huge cut in government subsidies.
‘We want the agreement signed in 2006, the Coal Plan. It has been signed since 2006. What they have to do is to keep it, nothing more. That’s all we want. We do not want more money,’ say the miners, who are the central core of the Spanish working class, the leaders of their historic struggle, including before, during, and after Franco came to power.
Franco began the civil war with a revolt against the Spanish Republic.
Today the Spanish ruling class has launched a new civil war against the working class with their massive austerity programme that has seen over 50 per cent of Spanish youth made jobless, and millions turned into paupers, all to keep the bankrupt bankers and the bosses in business.
Rajoy yesterday decreed that sales tax would go up to 21% and there would be a 3.5bn euro cut in local authority budgets, Christmas bonuses suspended for public workers, and unemployment benefit cut after six months out of work.
The measures were the price for a 30bn euro bank bailout by the European Central Bank, and a one year extension, from 2013-2014 for the time limit for getting Spain’s massive debt slashed to 3% of GDP.
Rajoy instructed parliament that the measures he was announcing had to be adopted without delay.
Spain’s 30bn-euro bank bailout will be the first instalment of a package worth up to 100bn euros agreed in June.
Eurozone ministers however, have not yet got approval from their own parliaments, and hope to make the payment by the end of July.
Meanwhile the interest rate demanded by the purchasers of Spanish government debt is still at danger point, 7%, at which repayment is estimated to be impossible.
If the Spanish government cannot impose ever more severe austerity measures on the Spanish workers in order to drive that interest rate down and keep it down, Spain will have to go for a full national bailout, reckoned to require 450bn euros.
This would break the back of the EU, and plunge the national banking systems and the euro itself over the edge of the abyss into disaster.
The survival of the euro rests on the ability of the ruling classes of the EU to make the Spanish, and all of the workers of the EU, pay the full bill for the bankers’ and the bosses’ crisis.
The future of the Spanish workers, and the workers and youth of Europe rests on them organising a socialist revolution throughout the EU to overthrow the EU and expropriate its bosses and bankers, to go forward to the Socialist United States of Europe.
Only a socialist planned economy throughout Europe, putting an end to the anarchy of capitalist production and capitalist markets, can provide jobs, education, a decent life and a future for the workers and youth of Europe.
Forward to the victory of the European Socialist Revolution.