WASHINGTON – The Spanish economy is “booming, healthy and durable,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Tuesday in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Spain is on the way toward overcoming the economic problems that it still has pending, such as high unemployment, the prime minister said, assuring U.S. executives that his 47 million compatriots are not resigning themselves to retracing the road of success they have charted over the past few decades.
Just as on Monday in his meeting with President Barack Obama, Rajoy compared the situation in Spain a year ago, with its moments “of enormous difficulty,” with what it is currently experiencing.
Spain, the prime minister said, is a society that is “committed, responsible and determined to fight to recover the levels of well-being it deserves.”
He stressed the role that small and medium-sized businesses are playing in the recovery and repeated his call to U.S. investors to establish a greater presence in Spain.
Obama expressed his full backing for the reforms Rajoy has implemented during their meeting Monday at the White House, praising the prime minister for his “great leadership” in helping Spain deal with a severe economic downturn.
Spain’s economy grew 0.30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 after nine straight quarters of contraction.
Representatives of large Spanish corporations and the Spanish Business Council for Competitiveness, or CEC, accompanied the prime minister on his visit to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization.
The United States is the No. 1 export destination for Spanish goods outside Europe and the top investor in Spain.
The prime minister also met Tuesday with Organization of American States Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza and was scheduled to wrap up his official agenda with a visit to the U.S. Capitol for discussions with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The committee chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), was awarded the Great Cross of Isabella the Catholic by Rajoy during a ceremony at the Spanish ambassador’s residence on Monday.