German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle expressed Saturday his support for the economic policy of the Mariano Rajoy government, because, though it will be "very hard on many people," it is "the best way to create new jobs and reduce unemployment."
Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo also dealt with that subject, urging the European Central Bank, or ECB, to prevent the pressure being piled on Spain and its debt by some markets that respond "with a slap in the face" to every reform carried out by the Spanish government.
Garcia Margallo and Westerwelle made their statements after being received by Crown Prince Felipe at Palma's Almudaina Palace in the Balearic Islands, on the occasion of their participation in the fourth meeting of the so-called "Berlin Group," a forum of foreign ministers from 11 countries of the European Union who are forging a common policy for dealing with the crisis.
"I know that (the Spanish government's policy) is very hard on many people in Spain, but I can only support the direction it is taking because we know it's the only alternative," Westerwelle said.
The head of German diplomacy said he was "absolutely convinced" that Spain will overcome its present difficulties and will again take advantage of the "competitiveness" that many of its companies have.
Westerwelle recalled that this week the German Parliament voted in favor of a program funding the Spanish banking system, and said his government is aware that budget discipline must be complemented with economic stimulus programs and that "growth is the result of structural reforms."
Garcia-Margallo gave thanks for his colleague's support at a time when Spain is going through some tough financial problems, and emphasized the importance of the European Central Bank intervening decisively by buying up Spanish debt.
"Someone has to bet on the euro and at this time, and as long as Europe's structure does not change, that bet has to be made by the ECB," the Spanish minister said.
He said that "the foundations of the Spanish economy are extraordinarily solid," as shown by the fact that, without "the burden of public debt, the balance of payments would be on an even keel for the first time in many years."
Garcia-Margallo expressed his conviction that Spain will not need to be bailed out and that the Central Bank will intervene to reduce the pressure of the markets.
With regard to the meeting held in Palma by the Berlin Group, the minister said that the main topic of this fourth forum was a search for mechanisms to bolster a common foreign policy.
He said that this is necessary so that Europe has the political clout it deserves internationally and can play a more decisive role in resolving conflicts like the one in Syria, which was also discussed by the foreign ministers gathered in the Balearic capital. EFE