I spent seven intense years in Barcelona, ??Spain, in a stage in my life where everything was new, all the time discovering and learning from smart people and unique experiences. I have lived the growth boom of the late 80′s and also the crisis of post 92. I have worked in mergers and acquisitions at the time of the incorporation of Spain to the (then) EEC. European companies that razed the shelves on which were displayed for Spanish companies to be bought. I have been involved in the valuation and negotiation of sale of dozens of companies. I also created my own company in that country. That intense experience has left a mark. I have made friends that today, 25 years later, they still are.
Spain is home to a complex and sophisticated society in the sense of both words . Spain is many “Spains”, nations, cultures and ideologies (right and left, but also nationalists, republicans, anarchists, monarchists …). Spain is complex for all points of view.
Football is an inexhaustible source for the construction of metaphors and this case is no exception. A selection of Spain they call it “Rage”, a positive adjective denoting courage, pride and resilience. But “Rage” also refers to the team warm-blooded in the Pampas to the “heater”. He said before Spain is a complex and sophisticated society and said it as a positive observation (forgive the redundancy explanation), since each case there is installed immediately generates very different positions and often more than one.
The spirit “heater” emerges in all subjects, the positions blunt, categorical, definitive. For or against the king and the royal house. Today it is easy to publish the king hunting elephants for 46,000 euros while the more outraged indignation. 20 years ago would have been unimaginable to read this news. The Spanish Fury is everywhere. The bullfight has taken thousands of pages of books, thousands of hours of radio and television, thousands of hours of coffee … and it will develop further. Nationalism, if any serious issue in that society and it is very difficult say whether we are “live” in those nations, not only splits water but also has led to not so long ago the lives of hundreds of citizens.
We can not criticize the “anger” of many Spanish these days , and his quick and sometimes ill-considered reactions. We can not fight with citizens’ statements made ??in the heat of the first skirmishes of a war. We can not let them have the time needed to finish to understand a complex situation as it turns out the nationalization of the company YPF by the Argentine state.
There are places where it is very difficult to return. Paint a Spanish citizen grievances in front of a local sales of Argentine products in a city in Galicia, or the owner of a bar in Seville put a sign reading “Argentines are not supported” should not surprise us. But both the man who used the spray to express their discomfort as the owner of the bar are citizens who may very well change your mind as far as knowing they can go deeper into the matter. They had all the necessary information. However, a political leader or an executive officer can not remove the sign “allowed Argentines” as if nothing had said. The anger, the hot reaction is often a bad adviser. Does say things that you can not go. Threatening in a negotiation, experts say, is of the worst attitudes you can take. The threat does not add up ever: what is threatened with what is done or not done, but never say.
Last week, before the announcement of the nationalization of YPF, I phoned my friend Ignasi Blanes. In fact, he called the producer of a radio program in which I participate, with the idea of ??talking about the Spanish crisis. In those days, the executive Mariano Rajoy had cut 10,000 million euros in the budget for health and education and on the other hand, the unemployment rate had reached the highest in the euro area: 24%.
The vision is for me Ignasi always a point of reference. He was the creator of Labor Corporations in the oil crisis of the year 73, when thousands of Spanish companies closed their doors and thousands of workers were on the street. The Ignasi is a very lucid and always enlightening to hear from you. At the end of the talk and when he was saying goodbye, I asked what he thought of the emerging (at that time) conflict between the Government of Argentina and Repsol. His answer was brief and blunt: ” It is a matter of ‘peel’, a negotiation in which Antonio Brufau (holder of the Spanish company) wants to receive the highest possible price and the Argentine state is obliged to negotiate for less. Everything else is just fireworks.”
Legal certainty, predictability and clear rules … I open the newspaper El Pais and read a headline that says “Retirees should pay 10% of the cost of medicines. Health change the law …. ” ¿Legal security for whom? How “unsafe” when a country becomes a law change that retirees pay for their drugs? I have read and heard some Spanish friends (sadly I must confess) discuss the general concept of legal certainty and the immaculate word freedom.
In Argentina we have learned the hard way that the concept of security and freedom should be much more extensive and generous when company representatives claimed by monopolistic or oligopolistic. The picture is complex: to speak of freedom and security of a company like Repsol and ignore the security and freedom of ordinary citizens is not consistent. Legal certainty is not changing game rules to all citizens, rich or poor, young or old, whether socialist or popular. Free enterprise is another matter. Free enterprise exists in markets with free competition, but when we are in monopoly sectors, such as usually are the economic sectors related to natural resource extraction, we can not talk about free enterprise and free competition. We speak of regulated sectors, where the main rule is the public interest, the public interest, security and freedom of these citizens.
Neither in the particular field, let alone in public, you can ignore responsibilities and obligations undertaken. If a government took a decision as to privatize a public enterprise and government today decided to re nationalize other reasons that make the public interest, it is necessary to take over the first and second decision. Just as no one can ignore the sovereignty of a country to make the decision to nationalize, no one can ignore the requirement that State pay for the re nationalization. And we are just in front of a negotiation.