IMF, European Union line up to heap praise on Spain
Spain earned plaudits from economic leaders of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during an Ecofin summit held this weekend in Gödölló, Hungary. Support for Spanish policies came from the head of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet; Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and the IMF's number two, John Lipsky, who joined the meeting.
"Spain has adopted decisions in the right direction," said Trichet, speaking as thousands of European unionists marched through Budapest to protest austerity policies and cuts to social benefits. The summit also came amid negotiations over the conditions that Portugal must meet to obtain 80 billion euros in emergency funding.
Spanish Economy Minister Elena Salgado said that IMF representative John Lipsky "began his address by saying that in the last six months, the most important and most positive news has come out of Spain."
Salgado also expressed confidence in the solvency of her country's financial system, and said that the country's cajas (savings banks) will pass European stress tests in the coming months, the results of which are due out in June. The minister spoke after hearing that the European Bank Authority had set minimum capital requirements at five percent, a decision that affects 90 lenders, of which 24 are Spanish.
The German finance minister said that both he and the markets believe "Spain is in good shape."