A better Spain

Mariano Rajoy and Carlos Herrera

The Rafael del Pino Foundation organised the event "A better Spain" on 4 December at 7 p.m., with the participation of Mariano Rajoy and Carlos Herrera.

Mariano Rajoy Brey has a degree in law and is a property registrar, a profession he currently practises, after an extensive political career. He was elected deputy in the first Galician regional elections in 1981, although after winning a seat as a councillor in Pontevedra, he soon became president of the provincial council of that province. He was subsequently elected national deputy for the same constituency and a few months later was appointed vice-president of the Xunta de Galicia. In the 1989 elections he was again elected to Congress and joined the national leadership of the Partido Popular as deputy secretary general. After the arrival of the PP to the Government in 1996, he assumed different ministerial portfolios, Public Administration, Education and Culture, Interior and Presidency, as well as the post of first vice-president and minister spokesman of the Government. In 2003 he was elected Secretary General and candidate for the Presidency of the Government and, the following year, President of the Partido Popular. After the 2004 and 2008 elections - in which the PP obtained the best result ever obtained by the opposition party - in November 2011 he achieved an absolute majority and became President of the Government. In 2015 he won the elections again and, after a re-run in 2016, he was again invested as president of the government, a position he held until June 2018. A few days later, he resigned from the presidency of the Partido Popular and from his seat as a member of parliament, which he had held since the 3rd Legislature, to return to his position as a civil servant, which he holds today. He is married and has two children.

Carlos Herrera has a degree in Medicine, but has never practised as he has always been dedicated to the world of communication, where he has managed to become one of the leading exponents of Spanish journalism. Since 1 September 2015, he has directed the morning show Herrera en COPE on Cadena COPE. From 2004 to March 2015 he directed the morning show Herrera en la Onda on the radio station Onda Cero. He has developed his professional career mainly in this medium, although he has also collaborated in the written press and has worked in television.


On 4 December 2019, former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gave a lecture at the Rafael del Pino Foundation on the occasion of the presentation of his book "A Better Spain". Rajoy, he said, had never considered writing a book. For this reason, he never wrote a line with the aim of capturing it in any volume. Therefore, he never kept a diary, which meant that he had to talk to many people in order to remember important events. So why did he write it down? Because some people, all friends, gave her three reflections that led her to modify her criteria. The first reflection required him to fulfil his duty to recount his vision of a period in Spanish history that was not inconsequential, of a period that he experienced first-hand, as President of the Government, in an intense way. The second reason was that, if he did not give his version of what happened then, others might do so, and it was more than possible that, knowing some of the people who circulate here, they would do so in a less affectionate and humble way. The third was that he always thought that the experiences of some might be useful to others later on. Therefore, he wanted to pass on some experiences that may be of some use in the future. Your book is an analysis of the last period of the PP in the national government. What you have tried to do is to go into detail about the most relevant events that took place during the time you were President of the Government. The text talks a lot about the economy, the Spain he found, the reforms he carried out, employment, the bank bailout, and the controversies that took place in the European Union during this period. He also talks about immigration, which is the most important issue that we have to address in the future, in Spain and in the European Union. This is an issue on which there is so much demagogy on both sides, some against immigrants and others against borders. Likewise, there is talk of the succession to the Crown and the dissolution of ETA, and of bipartisanship, and corruption, and the presumption of innocence, and of the inquisitors who flourish everywhere, and of the motion of censure. And of the doubts that the decisions he took raised in many people's minds. And of Catalonia and the doubts raised by the decisions he took on this issue. The book contains some ideas that have become convictions over time. Rajoy recalled that in recent years Spain had experienced the worst economic crisis in its history. Unemployment exceeded six million people, there were economic imbalances of all kinds, the Spanish financial system was in the ICU. And the worst thing was the widespread feeling that there was no future. Thanks to the efforts of Spanish society it was possible to turn this situation around, returning to growth in 2014 and growing by more than 3% until 2017. With the PP, more than half a million jobs were created each year, the foreign sector received a fundamental boost thanks to companies, the banking system was cleaned up and confidence in the Spanish economy was restored. According to Rajoy, controlling public accounts is fundamental for any country that wants to improve its welfare. Public administrations cannot spend what they do not have. Secondly, reforms must be made to adapt to the rapidly changing world we live in. The effects of the reforms he carried out are still there, but inertia is no way to live, and nothing has been done since the motion of censure. Fortunately, however, those that were made during his time in government have not been repealed either. Another of Rajoy's recommendations is that a ruler must have convictions. There is no way a ruler can ignore reality, one cannot be frivolous. Ortega y Gasset said that every ignored reality prepares its revenge. Nor can the ruler be a doctrinaire. That is why, six months after the PP came to power, taxes had been raised, the banks had been nationalised and a gigantic public debt operation had been carried out to bring to the surface all the debts of all the administrations and, in this way, pay the five million bills owed to suppliers. That was what reality demanded at the time. These were not the objectives of the PP, but if all this had not been done, Spain would have gone bankrupt. Once that danger was averted, taxes were lowered and the nationalised financial institutions were privatised. It is also important that the ruler preserves his independence and has a criterion on what is important, that he listens, and it is good to listen to those who know. Then, he must always decide with the general interest in mind. During his mandate, he had to decide, and a lot, on important issues, such as the bailout of the financial system, economic reforms, the level of public spending because 70,000 million euros of revenue had been lost, and the application of article 155. The government knew what had to be done and did it, knowing that many people would not agree, that there would be a lot of pressure. It also learned that consensus in matters of state is fundamental, especially in the reform of the Constitution, in the fight against terrorism, the unity of Spain, the 155, the succession to the Crown, or the development of the territorial model. These things should not be done by a majority. When they are done by consensus, they turn out well. For example, the Constitution, or the battle against the Ibarretxe plan. The first time that consensus was broken was with the Statute of Catalonia; from that dust has come this mud. The problem now is that, because of the agreements that may be reached, the Government will be conditioned by the parties that want to destroy Spain. For this reason, the two major parties must go hand in hand. Anyone who breaks this is irresponsible. The most important thing about the application of 155, which nobody knew what it consisted of because it had never been applied before, was that the message it has left is that the Spanish nation has instruments to defend itself, and when national unity is attacked, the nation can defend itself. Those who have gone against the unity of the nation and against national sovereignty know this very well. The PP, he said, is a party of the centre. This means that it does not drag doctrines or ear muffs behind it, that it has no preconceived ideas, that it avoids any radicalism. Centrism is the will to avoid any exaggeration, to make the best of things without doctrinaire prejudices.

The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.

The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.