Brussels last September praised Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's administration for its "well-focused" plan of reforms "with clear deadlines." But of the 72 legal changes the government promised to have in place by the end of March in time for this April's European exam, over half — 41 — have yet to see the light of day.
The government is still to pass such significant reforms as the creation of an independent fiscal authority, new electricity industry rules, the promised professional services regulation and a pension reform.
The changes are all the more pressing since Brussels last summer gave Spain an extra year, until 2014, to lower its public deficit to the three-percent ceiling, as well as awarding it an up-to 100-billion-euro bailout to recapitalize its troubled banks. Since then European authorities have placed Spain under special watch, subjecting both its banks and government policy to quarterly exams.