Interview with José-María Siles
Although he was born in the heart of Andalusia, Spain, those who know him are quick to point out that his perfectionism in work seems more Swiss than Spanish. Some would argue that his teutonic work ethic has something to do with the fact that he spent long periods of time in Germany as a foreign correspondent for the Spanish National Television (TVE). Spending time as a foreign correspondent in Berlin (covering the fall of the Wall), Rabat, Sarajevo (during the siege), Madrid, Portau- Prince, Kinshasa, New York, Washington and finally Brussels, José-María may have had to acclimatize to local cultures, but that has never meant adapting to local working hours. He likes to define himself as a fighter, never giving up and always going beyond (and behind) the news, looking for new ways to understand reality. And it is a great opportunity that Mr. Siles will discuss his approaches to issues from the Greek crisis to Euroscepticism.
So Mr. Siles, given the fact that Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland have received massive structural funds from the EU, why do you think all cohesion countries are struggling with an economic crisis? What is the main reason behind the eco-nomic crisis in those countries?
I don‘t think both things are related. In terms of the funds, some countries (like Spain) have used them well, in a transparent and efficient way; others (like Greece) have not been as efficient at using the money and apparently the level of fraud has been high. The main cause of the crisis in these perip-heral countries is the high level of public spending, which far exceeds natio-nal income. In other words, such states have spent more than they have produced. They have lived in a bubble of well-being that has exceeded their means and now they have to pay for what they didn‘t have. And continue lacking. But because they‘re in the Eurozone their liquidity problems affect the others.
The Greek crisis has led to fears that this is only the begin-ning of a deeper sovereign debt crisis that could ultimately destabilise the Eurozone. Are these fears exaggerated? How to deal with these problems?
Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 2 No. 3