Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría on Friday confirmed that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will meet with labor union and business leaders on May 16 in an attempt to broker a consensus on how to tackle the crisis, which has seen the economy in the doldrums since 2008 and unemployment rising to a record 27 percent.
Sáenz de Santamaría said the unions and business organization are open to suggest whatever “they think is appropriate” at the meeting with Rajoy, who next Wednesday will present the government’s latest batch of reforms to get the economy moving again.
“If there are agreements, they are to be welcomed,” said the deputy PM. “We will lead the exit from the crisis.” The main opposition Socialist Party earlier this week proposed a broad pact to tackle the crisis, a call that has been echoed by the business community. But Rajoy has expressed skepticism about the feasibility of this.
In response to calls by Esperanza Aguirre, a former Madrid premier and leading light within the ruling Popular Party, for spending to be cut even further by slimming down the public administrations, Sáenz de Santamaría defended the government’s handling of the crisis, saying that reforms going in that direction are already “on the table.” She added that a change of this dimension could not be carried out “overnight.” “You can’t do this in an hour,” she said.