Spain's negotiations within the European Union have focused on measures "that benefit the general interests of the euro and those of Spain at every specific moment" and decisions are made "on that basis," Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an interview published Sunday by the European press.
"I'm convinced that carrying out my duty will result in my winning the elections again," Rajoy said in an interview published in the Spanish daily ABC and in which Italy's Corriere della Sera, France's Le Journal du Dimanche and Germany's Bild am Sonntag also participated.
"Reality" is what has prevented the fulfillment of the proposed election program that led to his overwhelming victory at the polls last November, the prime minister said.
"I don't have any magic wands and I never promised miracles. We'll get out of this, I have no doubt, but with effort, perseverance and faith in ourselves," Rajoy, the leader of the conservative Popular Party, or PP, said.
In the interview, to which ABC devoted its cover and eight interior pages, the premier said that he understands that people are being hurt by the adjustment measures pushed by his government, and he said that he and his Cabinet are "trying to be fair and equitable at the same time as (we are) distributing the efforts," adding that "the cutbacks have not affected retirees."
"As soon as I can, I will lower the IRPF," the tax on the income of physical persons, which the government raised last January, Rajoy said.
Regarding the possibility of a rescue or financial assistance from the European Union for Spain, he reacted cautiously.
"We're going to await the decisions of the Central European Bank and on the basis of that we'll make a decision that, today, has still not been made, but if I believe it's good for all of Europe, for the euro and for Spain, I'll make it and, if not, I won't," Rajoy said.
The prime minister said that within the current regional administration in Spain, which has autonomous communities that have assumed many duties that were formerly centralized, "expenses must always accord with income."
Rajoy said that the central government will help the northeastern region of Catalonia, which has requested more than 5 billion euros (about $6.25 billion) in financial aid, because it cannot "leave anyone to their fate," but he added that the Catalonian authorities "have commitments to take on."
Among the structural reforms planned for this quarter that will affect the autonomous regions, Rajoy emphasized those designed to guarantee "the unity of the market" and avoid "excessive regulation."
Le Journal du Dimanche devoted two pages to the interview with Rajoy.
During the interview, the Spanish leader said that he shares with French president Francois Hollande the essential points of view required to emerge from the crisis.
"Without Germany, the euro cannot survive," read the headline in Bild am Sonntag, which emphasized Rajoy's conviction that the Eurozone in 2018 could have a fiscal union with eurobonds.
The prime minister was also blunt about the reforms carried out in Spain and defended them against the criticism they have received in Europe, saying "you will not find any government that, in the first eight months of its mandate, has changed so many things as mine."
Corriere della Sera also put the interview on its front page, emphasizing Rajoy's statement that "Madrid is prepared to ask for help" and that it respects the conditions set by the EU.
"If the (requirements) of the Central European Bank are positive, I will present the aid request; if not, I won't," Rajoy said. EFE