Spanish press: Bailout gives country vital reprieve

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy addresses the media at the Moncloa palace The eurozone loan, requested by Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy, is thought to be in the region of 100bn euros

Commentators in the Spanish press say Spain's bank bailout has given the country and the eurozone vital breathing space.

Many are not impressed with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's handling of the crisis. They see the bailout as a specific rescue package for Spain, rather than the European plan to save the euro that Mr Rajoy suggested.

Papers on the left and right call the injection of funds only the start of an urgent restructuring of the Spanish economy; and many say that success, and the credibility of the government, depends on the larger issue of reforming the eurozone.

There is scepticism too in the German press, where some commentators fear the Spanish bailout only serves to deepen rifts in the eurozone.

Angel F Fermoselle in centre-right El Mundo

"Rajoy has weakened the credibility of politicians in the eyes of the citizens - and that is no easy task - by giving in to what just two weeks ago he said would not happen: 'There will be no rescue of Spanish banks,' he had insisted with maximum force."

Economist Luis Garicano in El Mundo

"Unfortunately, Spain has not been able to achieve a key objective in these negotiations, namely that Europe should assume some of the risk for the financial sector bailout, which will otherwise fall directly on the already overburdened shoulders of the Spanish taxpayer... We must ensure the sustainability of the welfare state and acknowledge that as a country we have been having a giant party and cannot afford to go on this way... Spain must not in any circumstances find itself seeking a second bailout in December."

Editorial in the centre-left El Pais

"The Prime Minister made an effort yesterday to sell an optimistic version of what happened this weekend, assuring us that it had not been a matter of rescuing Spain but rather of Europe saving the euro. He also denied, contrary to the assertions of the Eurogroup partners, that he had come under pressure. On the contrary, 'It is I who did the pressing,' he said in an arrogant show of pride... The way that Rajoy is willing to deny and correct what he said as often as necessary in order to tackle the crisis is a naked display of political realism. This is the only way of understanding how the prime minister can consider this to have been a triumph for the government rather than the worst weekend since he came to power."

Andres Ortega in El Pais

Tom Burridge looks at what the Spanish papers have to say

"The urgent need was to avoid the bankruptcy of some Spanish banks, and by extension those in other countries, starting with Italy... The urgent need now is to save the euro.... and to clean up the rest of the European financial system... The urgent need is to control what might happen on Monday, when the results of the second Greek elections in a month come in. For Spain and for the eurozone, despite what the Germans think, the priority is to avoid a viral run on the banks and to keep Greece in the euro, even though Berlin and some others seem to have decided that it ought to leave... It is important for Europe to come up with a policy for growth that is not obsessed with austerity. Even the German economy is limping, because the global economy is slowing down. Europe must wake up. Obama, whose re-election depends in part on this, is pleading for it."

Editorial in right-wing ABC

"This is a calming injection. In a two-speed Europe, Spain is in a position to join the vanguard of countries that are committed to further economic integration."

Maribel Nunez in ABC

"The controversy continues as to whether the decision of the Eurogroup to extend a credit line of up to 100,000 million euros to Spanish banks was a bailout of the country or not. It seems to be a lost war for the government of Mariano Rajoy, however, as almost the whole press has summed the matter up as a rescue package, although many substantial differences distinguish a line of credit limited to bailing out the banking sector from a bailout of the entire economy of a country, as has happened in Greece, Ireland and Portugal."

Editor Jose Antich in Barcelona's liberal La Vanguardia

"Spain gets a unique pass to travel through this long crisis, and will be able to restructure its financial system. But where is the success? If this had not happened, opportunities for going to foreign markets would have shut down, the price to pay would have been be too high, and the rescue of the country would have been only a matter of time. Now at least there is a sufficiently wide margin to try to get back up. And Rajoy, and his uncertain tenure, keep his pulse going and need no artificial respiration."

Thomas Exner in Germany's Die Welt

We can already rule out that the 100bn-euro credit for Spain's banks will lead to a sustained change in mood. That effect could only have come about if the help could really be considered a mark of European determination and community spirit. But actually it's the opposite.

The crisis management for Spain reveals far more how deep the rifts in Europe really are...

The contrasts are too strong - between the desire for national sovereignty and the interest in having more control and centralisation.

Heike Goebel in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The case of Spain shows the following: not much is left of the 'German' principle of only granting help to the eurozone in return for the strictest of reforms… Now there is a bailout with no political cost, the debtors are largely dictating the rules. 'Madame No' [Chancellor Angela Merkel] has played the last trump card in her hand.

Nicolas Barre in Les Echos, France

These successive and costly [bailout] plans can only be acceptable if Europe's leaders show that they now have a viable long-term plan for the eurozone. If not, then inevitably the centrifugal force that is threatening to break up the eurozone will prove too much, and Europe will not only lose a lot of money, but also much of its capacity to influence world affairs.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here

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