From property to ham, Spain's path to euro trouble

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From property to ham, Spain's path to euro trouble

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Economic pressures related to the euro have also made it a steeper challenge for Spaniards to put food on the table. The famous Iberian ham, and even the tastier tomatoes have doubled in price since the euro was introduced.

While a Madrid vendor told euronews he finds people pay more attention with the euro, consuming a lot less, a shopper backs this up, saying: “Everything is far more expensive… water, electricity, phone bills, transport — everything.”

It was in the property sector that Spain and the euro entwined to the eventual detriment of the country. The banks took advantage of the new money’s introduction to offer customers loans at very attractive rates. And lots of Spaniards went for it, buying their own place. But with the crisis, and a slippery hold on low-paying jobs, countless Spaniards ran into trouble.

“All this is a new neighbourhood,” said young Beatriz Lapastora. “I’ve got a great apartment, but with what I’m earning it’s difficult to make the monthly payments on it.”

“The Spanish people went deeply into debt these last years,” said Rafael Pampillon, teacher at a business school, “buying houses, cars, going on holidays. Quite logically, this has to be paid off!”

The only way Beatriz can meet her financial obligation to the bank, which is now 600 euros per month, is by going back to live with her mum and dad.

She said: “Until I find a steady job with a decent wage to let me pay back the loan, I can’t be independent.”

Spain’s national deficit — or overspending — is a record 11.4 percent of its income. The government plans to introduce an austerity plan starting from July.