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Rajoy being interviewed by the News Editor-in-Chief of the Antena 3 Group, Gloria Lomana

During a televised interview last week Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that efforts were begun a long time ago in Catalonia to resolve the real problems of growth and unemployment, and to strengthen the ties that unite the country within the Spanish Constitution and the law.

In response to questions from the News Editor-in-Chief of the Antena 3 Group, Gloria Lomana, he said that the Spanish State is ready for any scenario. "What I can tell you now is that the law will be followed" and that "a referendum aimed at questioning the sovereignty of the Spanish people will not take place", he said. "What I can assure you of right now", "is that, as long as I am President of the Government of Spain – and I believe I can guarantee this for the future as well, no region of Spain will become independent".

The President of the Government, who described the photograph taken in Durango by the former ETA prisoners as "abhorrent", said he tried to ensure that the meeting did not take place and has requested a legal report to discover whether former prisoners from the terrorist gang can be prevented from standing in municipal elections.

Positive figures in the Spanish economy

As regards the economic situation in Spain, he stressed that positive data is already starting to emerge. He specifically mentioned "a rate of inflation at 0.3% in December that we have almost never seen before" and the improving risk premium. "Until recently, we were paying for Spanish debt at 7.3% but now that figure has dropped to 3.6%", he said. According to the President of the Government, that represents a saving of some 8.9 billion euros – "money that can obviously be used now to help people in other areas".

Mariano Rajoy believes that "the economic growth data we have seen recently point to a hopeful future", including the unemployment data because, "although not good enough, a trend is now apparent that suggests we can be optimistic as we look ahead to 2014 and subsequently 2015".

Much work still remains to be done "but, today, at the half-way point in this legislature, I am in a position to tell the people of Spain that the worst is behind us. I am aware of the problems, the difficulties and the sacrifices, but they will soon be able to see that those efforts will produce positive results".

"2012 in Spain was a year in which we had to focus on overcoming the chaos and dreadful economic situation the country was in, with a financial crisis and a public debt crisis of considerable proportions. 2013 was the year in which we created sound foundations for our economy. 2014 is the start of economic growth and job creation, and 2015 will be the year of economic growth consolidation, further job creation and tax decreases", summarised the President of the Government.

Upcoming reforms

Mariano Rajoy announced that the most important reforms in 2014 will be the tax reform and the reform of the regional financing system. As regards the former, he said it is currently being analysed by a group of experts "who will present their conclusions to us over the course of February. I would like this draft bill to be submitted to Parliament by March or April", said Mariano Rajoy.

As regards the labour reform, he maintained that these steps have produced results and that the evidence can be seen reflected in the fact that, during a situation of negative economic growth in 2013, unemployment actually fell slightly, which "is a clear sign that the labour reform is a good reform", he said. Furthermore, he added that the reform has been held in very high regard by an independent body – the OECD.

Other issues

As regards the reform of the so-called Abortion Act, the President of the Government said he is willing to talk and reach the broadest consensus within the limits set by the Constitutional Court.

As regards the lack of understanding with the opposition on matters of State, Mariano Rajoy explained that there are indeed issues on which they logically disagree but that there are others, which Mariano Rajoy believes to be very important – such as attempts to de-construct national sovereignty, the policy on Europe and the renewal of institutions – on which agreement does exist.

Regarding the cases of corruption, he regrets that such cases have arisen and said that the Transparency Act approved by the Government of Spain, the Statute of Public Office and the Criminal Code reform are all aimed at preventing such events from being repeated.

As regards the recent events in Gamonal and the actions by the Mayor of Burgos to cancel the construction works, the President of the Government said that the conduct by the people during this episode of crisis has been "exemplary" and said he respects the decision taken by the mayor to change course.

Mariano Rajoy defended the courage of the ministers who form his government because they have had to take some difficult decisions and have done so bravely, which is why he will always support them, he added.

Finally, when asked about the court summons issued for the Infanta Cristina, the President of the Government said he would like, as the King of Spain himself said, that we are all seen as equal in the eyes of the law, and that includes "the presumption of innocence to which the Infanta Cristina is also entitled", he insisted. In his opinion, she should not have to renounce her dynastic rights.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42418/

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