Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is to table new anti-corruption laws on political parties’ financial activities along with tougher sanctions for corruption by senior political officials.
This follows allegations that former treasurers of the ruling People’s Party operated a slush fund with donations from the construction industry.
Rajoy said: “All corruption is unbearable, it corrodes our civic spirit, it damages democracy and discredits Spain.”
In his first state-of-the-nation speech since taking office 15 months ago, Rajoy also pledged to pull Spain out of its painful recession without relaxing the austerity needed to cut the high public deficit: “The economic and social reality of our country is terribly tough and based on that we will act. We start now and the road left to achieve our great objective for this legislation – job creation – is still a long one.”
Austerity continues to strangle Spain’s economic growth and push up the jobless totals.
In 2011 the country managed weak growth with unemployment under 22 percent.
The IMF’s forecast now is for major contraction in 2012 and this year with one in four Spaniards out of work.
On that front the prime minister also announced new incentives for employers to hire young people – youth unemployment is at 56 percent – and tax cuts for small- and medium-sized companies.
What he did not present were the structural reforms that the EU wants.