I'm not sure these local discussions are of any interest to MTF... but I guess it's not completely off-topic.
You've been making the same point all over the thread. The post you are referring to was the first I wrote here. I fail to see how your first answer had anything to do with it.
But I didn't quote you, did I? You were the first to quote me. I was making a sarcastic comment, carrying on with my previous posts.
I was putting France as an example of Northern Europe: mostly flat, a lot of water, huge rivers apt for internal communications. That's just as valid for Germany. Building 100 km of road or rail in Spain is worth more than double than in those countries, as you surely know.
Well there you go... how on earth is France Northern Europe??
Water communication is indeed easier in those countries than in the south. But the lands and the climate are much less harsh and thus more friendly to a wide arrange of crops in Southern Europe than in the cold north. Anyone who has bought fruits and vegetables in the northern countries knows what I'm talking about.
Much of Spain is fit only for raising olives.
That is on the one hand not true, and on the other hand, what's the problem with that? Olive trees are a great asset of the Spanish economy, everybody likes olive oil.
I'm not talking about Spaniards' resposibility for their own history, but about the irony that we ended being vilified for it while others received very significant help to rebuild their economies.
I know what you mean and you have a point. However, let's not forget EU funds are much more significant than the Marshall Plan was, at least in pure economic terms. The Marshall Plan lasted 4 years, from 1948 to 1952, while countries like Spain have been receiving EU grants for 25 years and counting.
That is extremely unfair with your own country. You know quite well that Spanish infrastructure has changed dramatically over the last quarter of a century, not to speak of its hospitals, etc. In fact, I'm convinced that very few countries have, globally, put EU money to better use, in sharp contrast to say Greece.
They've been put to better use than in other countries, yes. Still, I have long maintained that their impact has been greatly exaggerated. And I'll say more: they've been at times damaging and badly planned. Hospitals built with EU money, but kept undercrewed because of lack of personnel. Farmers resorting to extreme tactics to receive funds, messing up the sector in the process. And most importantly (and we'll start to see this in some years' time) they've clogged the economy of the receiving country, having a stagnating effect on the private and, mainly, on the public sector. Kind of like the spoiled kid who has trouble sorting out his own stuff when he leaves the nest.
But I'll give you that, positive results are to be found and that is surely not the main problem of the Spanish economy.
Spain's economic ills have little to do with not knowing how to use EU funds, but with being incapable of achieving a major change in its economic activity (something for which transforming the infrastructure was vital). And that is largely structural and, as you know, far more difficult to accomplish. The downturn in industrial production that has happened everywhere in the first world (and that in our case was more or less closely related with the need to adapt to a Eurpean market) was replaced by an overblown building spree of which all political parties are guilty and that was bound to burst sooner or later. It's our bad luck that the burst coincided with a global recession. With a stable global market, we may just have pulled off the trick of transitioning from an economy based largely on bricks into something new.
The problem with Spain is structural as you say, and it has to be addressed through education. It's the values of the people that have to be changed. It's not the politicians' fault, not the bankers' fault, it's everyone's
I'm sorry if I sound too harsh, the Germans are hardly angels and are also to blame for all this mess. My point is, the peripheral countries need to step it up and start thinking for themselves and getting some productivity out of their workforce. I've done the same job in Spain and in Germany, and as the kid in that movie said, I've seen things...