Economist Leopoldo Abadia was awarded Spain's Espasa Prize on Thursday for a book that charts a roadmap out of the nation's severe economic crisis and describes economic concepts in language accessible to the layperson.

The jury selected Abadia's "El economista esperanzado. Manual de urgencia para salir de la crisis" (The Hopeful Economist: Urgent Steps for Exiting the Crisis) by unanimous vote, Editorial Espasa said in a statement.

This prize, in its 24th edition this year and accompanied by a cash award of 30,000 euros ($38,600), was known in previous editions as the Espasa Non-Fiction Prize.

This year's award honored an "optimistic" book that "gets us up-to-date on the latest events and lights the way with a ray of hope," the publishing house said, noting that Abadia predicts the "end of the crisis is approaching, although probably nothing will be as it was before."

Abadia told Efe he was "very, very pleased" with this distinction and "hopeful" that Spain can find its way out of its economic woes.

Abadia said Spain is "very much on the right path" and in the good hands of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, of whom the economist is a great admirer.

"I like her so much that I think she should be canonized in her lifetime," Abadia said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's administration has adopted a series of German-backed austerity measures in recent months that are aimed at meeting a European Union-mandated budget deficit target.

Rajoy's government says fulfilling the deficit objective is the first step out of the crisis, which was triggered by the collapse of a massive real-estate bubble in the context of the 2008-2009 global recession.

Those measures, however, have been harshly criticized by unions and sparked large street protests in a country where the overall unemployment rate is nearly 25 percent and more than 50 percent of young people are jobless.

Spain is currently in its second recession in three years.

Four years after publishing "La crisis Ninja" (The Ninja Crisis), a book that explained the origins of the crisis to thousands of Spaniards, Abadia has solidified his status as "the economist of reference" for both the initiated and those with some economic background, Editorial Espasa said.

Previous winners of the Espasa Prize, which dates back to 1984, include Luis Rojas Marcos, Fernando Arrabal, Jon Juaristi, Vicente Verdu and Albert Boadella.

Diego Carcedo won the previous edition of the award for his work "Entre heroes y bestias" (Between Beasts and Heroes). EFE