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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Spain today is Jersey in two years time?

Unemployment in Spain is currently running at 23% and nearly 50 percent among those under age 25 and the economy is forecast to shrink by 1.7 percent this year.

Sheldon Adelson's dream to build Europe's first Las Vegas-style resort in Spain would certainly bring much needed relief to an economy lurching into another recession and struggling with sky-high unemployment.

To say that Spain needs his money would be an understatement.

Spain erupts into violence yesterday,
will the EU never learn it is over?

Adelson and officials with his company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., will decide by the summer which city to build in if they reach a deal with Spanish authorities.  Madrid and Barcelona are both vying to woo Adelson and the $22 billion he wants to invest in "Eurovegas" -- six casinos, 12 hotels featuring 36,000 rooms, a convention center, three golf courses, shopping centers, bars and restaurants. The two sites being eyed in Madrid each cover an area equivalent to 1,000 football fields.

But the millions that would rain down come with strings attached: Adelson wants Spanish laws bent so that gamblers can smoke in the casinos and new zoning regulations allowing him to send buildings soaring above the skyline. And not everyone is thrilled about the idea of Spain hosting a European Sin City that could attract prostitution and organized crime -- and add gambling addiction to the woes of already desperate Spaniards.

One irony of the grandiose project is that Spain's onetime roaring economy fell apart with the collapse of a massive property bubble.

Adelson started looking at Spain as a possible European gambling magnet in 2007, but years of negotiations with Socialists who ruled then went nowhere. The Socialists lost power last year as voters vented frustration over the dismal economy. Now the more business-friendly Popular Party is in charge, and this, along with the downturn, means authorities are probably more amenable to Adelson.

Spain like Italy and Greece before it could be the next country to succumb to the Eurozone contagion and have it's democratically elected government placed under the administration of an appointed banker, a sure sign that a nation IS bankrupt.

Adding to Spain's woes are the unions who are organising protests to protect workers pay and conditions and prevent the austerity cuts which are under way. The problem is that the prime minister has no place to go, he is able to choose where the cuts fall, but he cannot prevent the cuts from occurring. He is under the threat of surrendering the sovereignty of Spain, just as Greece and Italy have done.

The unions of course are solely trying to protect the workers who are on the sort of over-paid, over-protected, under worked contracts that we in Jersey assume are the norm. But it is those very working conditions which would have to be altered to fit the plans of Sheldon Adelson. The level of regulation in Spain is phenomenal, even to employ members of your own family for as little as two hours per week the bureaucracy is overwhelming.

So with Jersey style government excess making it unfavourable from inward investment, pressure to cut spending from the European Union and unions out of touch with reality who will not act in the best interests of the nation as a whole but would seek to ensure that their members maintain their unfair advantage over honest, working folk, the situation there seems to represent the future of Jersey.