In what El País newspaper has called Spain’s “demographic blood drain without precedents,” tens of thousands of Spaniards are fleeing their own country to escape the eurozone economic disaster which has left total unemployment rate at over 25 per cent and unemployment among the under-25s at 54 per cent.
Thousands are fleeing to Britain, many having been evicted from their homes in the crash six years ago which followed the property boom stoked by the European Central Bank’s “one size fits all” eurozone interest rate policy.
More than 8,200 Spaniards moved to Britain last year alone, making it their most favoured destination in the European Union, according to figures from the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE). The Times reports: “Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that 51,000 Spaniards registered for a national insurance number – which is required by anyone intending to work in the UK — by May this year.”
A total of 79,306 Spanish citizens left their country in 2013, a 38.5 per cent increase compared with 2012, figures showed.
The dimensions of the economic crisis are clear in a recent report by Caritas, a Catholic charity:
“Spain has one of the worst child poverty rates in the EU. A series of changes to social welfare benefits means that in many households a grandparent’s pension income is supporting a whole family, although cuts to pensions and to entitlements mean that this lifeline is also under increasing strain in many families.”
A 2014 Unicef report showed that Spain, along with countries such as Greece, Italy and Portugal which are suffering from their decision to join the euro currency, are at the bottom half of the rankings table for “child well-being.”
The birth rate remains below replacement levels.
Spain’s economy has been showing some signs of growth, but so far it has not led to an increase in jobs. The Financial Times reported this week that the PMI index, a measure of the momentum of growth, showed Spain, the bloc’s fourth-largest economy, hitting its highest level for seven years.
However, the FT said the index also confirmed a slowdown in the recovery of the eurozone’s manufacturers, with poor performance by the two largest eurozone economies, Germany and France.
Spain remains trapped in a sclerotic currency union, leaving its people to flee to the UK and the booming sterling economy.