«Most independent observers feel Spain has been punching below its weight in Europe and beyond in recent years. For some, this is the inevitable consequence of the Great Recession, which has had dire economic, political, and social ramifications. Others would argue that this deficit has deeper roots, such as the successive enlargements of the EU, which relegated Spain to a more peripheral role.
After two inconclusive general elections in December 2015 and June 2016 and ten months of uncertainty, the leader of Spain’s People’s Party, Mariano Rajoy, is about to be sworn in as prime minister for a second term. His will be a minority government facing daunting challenges at home, such as the need to shrink the budget deficit to 3.1 percent of GDP in 2017 and the threat posed by Catalan secessionism.
However, Rajoy needs to look beyond his country’s borders, not least to prepare for a possible hard Brexit, which would harm Spain more than most. If it does not falter, Spain’s economic recovery might even allow him to prove that the country that remains the most staunchly committed member of the European family can provide some badly needed impetus in these difficult times.»