U2’s Bono asks for Europe-wide campaign for Spain

Rock star tells Merkel and Rajoy that people should be encouraged to buy Spanish goods Musician delivers star speech at European People’s Party congress in Dublin

Bono during his speech, with Rajoy in the far background.Photo: reuters_live | Video: ELPAÍS-LIVE!
Carlos E. Cué

Some of the most powerful people in Europe were there. But neither Angela Merkel, José Manuel Durão Barroso, Herman Van Rompuy or Mariano Rajoy was the star of the European People’s Party congress in Dublin. That honor went to Irish rock musician Bono, who had been invited to speak and used the occasion to make the longest, most applauded speech of the day.

The U2 singer spoke about capitalism, the European Union, the troika, Ireland’s bailout and racism against Roma and Africans, as well as Merkel and Rajoy, who were seated in the audience.

And he also spoke about Spain. Bono argued that Europe still had much more to do to get out of the crisis, not just in economic terms, but also in terms of its feelings of unity. “You’ve got Prime Minister Rajoy just this week urging the EU to make structural reforms that will create liquidity in the Spanish economy,” he said.

“Maybe you will. But beyond that, where is the family’s response?” he asked, after comparing the EU with a family in which everyone should help each other. “Where is our Europe-wide campaign to spotlight Spain, to encourage others to take their holidays there, to buy Spanish goods, listen to Spanish music?”

The rhetorical question surprised the Spanish delegation, who were already applauding the speech -- though not Rajoy, who did not seem so excited. He only applauded at the end, out of courtesy.

The singer also sprinkled some jokes among his political messages, including one about Spain: “Perhaps U2 should make a flamenco album [to support Spain],” he said. “Well, maybe not.”

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