The coronavirus is “under control” in Spain and German government concerns about the scale of Spain’s recession aren’t justified, Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said.
The government is focused on slowing the rate of infections while protecting the economy and tensions between the national administration and Madrid region are a consequence of the country’s decentralized system, Laya said in a Bloomberg Television interview Thursday.
Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has been locked in an increasingly bitter struggle with the center-right government of Madrid which has been resisting restrictions in the Spanish capital, the epicenter of a fresh wave of infections. German government officials have privately voiced concern that the economic hit from the virus in Spain — the most severe in Europe — could have a knock-on effect for other member states.
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“I don’t think this is fair,” Laya said.
“What’s happening in Spain is not unlike what happens in the laender in Germany,” she added. “When the central government tells the regions they need to take tough measures, some of them are not happy about that and want to pass the buck onto the federal government.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to persuade German state leaders to take more decisive action to stop the contagion and voiced her frustration after eight hours of talks on Wednesday produced only limited measures.
Sanchez declared a state of emergency in Madrid last week to force the regional government to impose restrictions on movement. Spain has registered 300,000 new cases over the past month bringing the total number of infections to almost a million and more than 3,000 people have died during that period.