Saturday, June 12, 2010

La 'cleggmania' llega a Espana

Here in Madrid (ah yes, I may have forgotten to mention that I'm in Spain for a long weekend), 'El Mundo' reports on the latest political visitor to the home of the EU Presidency.

With the almost obligatory picture of Nick gazing out of a window overlooking the city with a somewhat contemplative mien, the interview that follows, given in Spanish (and isn't it great that he can do that?), includes the unexpected news that he flew EasyJet to save money in the new 'age of austerity'.

This is a momentous week here in Spain, marking as it does the twenty-fifth anniversary of the country's accession to the European Union. There have been conferences, with such luminaries as Mario Soares, who led Portugal when they joined in the expansion from nine to twelve, a concert and much coverage of what membership has done for the people.

And no, it is not wholly uncritical. But on the whole, Spain and its people have taken advantage of the opportunities that membership offers, building key infrastructure projects with the support of cohesion funds and giving credit where it is due.

I am not of the view that membership of the European Union is the solution to all that ails our country. But a more dispassionate debate of the pros and cons of Europe and its works might allow us to gain more from its programmes and actions.

1 comment:

Duncan said...

It's mildly bemusing to watch the very excited Dutch coverage from the election on youtube including interviews with Nick in what comments describe as 'better Dutch than [a native]' and 'totally without any accent'.

We'd have won a landslide if the Dutch had been the ones voting. :\