The Spanish EU Presidency-in-transition has been consulting expert opinion to pull Europe and its own national fortunes out of a stubborn economic downturn. The 12-member independent Reflection Group established by the European Council is chaired by none other than Spanish Socialist former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez.
This was as government figures showed
Spain’s jobless rate kept climbing in December.
Spain’s unemployment is pushing 20 percent, twice the European Union average.
While the Lisbon reform Treaty now in force will phase out the EU rotational presidency system, Madrid’s ruling Socialists are showing they do not intend to waste an opportunity to influence EU economic policymaking while carrying out a key role in the Council for the first half of this year.
Meanwhile, the Spanish presidency’s emblematic artwork at Council headquarters in Brussels was being put up. It is an LED screen with overhead images of people walking, crawling or climbing on a 30-metre-long twisting loop. Daniel Canogar, the author of the installation, called “Travesias”, said it represents the EU’s territorial, economic and social transformations.