Among the many budget cuts that many European countries have been forced to implement due to incredible and intolerable hounding from the markets, Spain’s cuts in scientific research and innovation are obviously the most deplorable and incongruent.
There were three major areas that should have been shielded at all costs from budget-cutting measures: healthcare, education, and knowledge. But the pressure exerted in the last throes of a system whose total crisis has so greatly affected the West, and especially Europe, has also given rise to budget cuts in those “untouchable” pillars of social welfare.
In Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Nordic countries… no cuts of funds for R+D and innovation have been made. To the contrary, being aware of the importance of a knowledge and innovation-based economy, certain funds budgeted for those items have actually been increased, particularly those allotted for small and medium-sized enterprises.
With the election of President Hollande it’s clear that the timeframe for reducing deficits will be relaxed and the possibility of creating incentives will rapidly increase.
When we observe the Government’s ability to resolve banking disasters such as in the present case of BANKIA, not only for its size, but for its negative effect on Spain’s image, much could likewise be achieved toward promoting and “reclassifying” our country in the European Union by eliminating the restrictions initially imposed on R+D and innovation (largely required to stimulate the economy and create jobs) as well as on those that really reflect citizen welfare: healthcare and education.