In Spain, the struggle continues. It’s International Tobacco Control v. the Spanish hospitality industry. 21 Feb 2011, The raw translation:
What began as a concentration summoned to the Ministry of Interior on behalf of industry interests, eventually became an impromptu demonstration.
Under the slogan “Ban = total ruin of hospitality,” the chefs have succeeded in preventing road traffic in the middle lanes of Paseo de Recoletos and the Castellana to stop concentrating again at the gates of the Ministry.
Speaking to EFEAgro, the president of the Spanish Federation of Hoteliers (FEHR), Jose Maria Rubio, has stated that the demonstration was planned and that people “is badly burned and when it moves, it is about something.”
22 Feb 2011 raw translation:
22 Feb 2011 translation:
So who will Spain’s government heed? Its own people, trying to keep their businesses afloat? Or Tobacco Control operating out of the EU?
The Spanish health minister recently claimed that the smoking ban would increase economic productivity. It doesn’t appear to have increased the productivity of the Spanish hospitality industry. They’re getting fewer customers rather then more customers. In fact, it’s a complete disaster for them. 82% of Madrid establishments have seen client numbers fall by 23%. 34% have laid off staff.
But the Spanish government wants to stay in the EU, and gain the benefits of belonging to that select club. Well, with the smoking ban they’re seeing another ‘benefit’ to put alongside the ‘benefit’ of no longer being able to control their own currency (which they would have devalued by now, if they still had control over it.)
Both the EU and smoking bans are manifestations of wouldn’t-it-be-nice kinds of idealism. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live together in a single European state? Wouldn’t it be nice if people stopped smoking? Well, actually, it’s turning out to not be not at all nice in a number of ways. Idealistic hopes are colliding with grim reality. There are probably a lot of people in Spain, many of them smokers, who have lost much of their enthusiasm for the EU over the last couple of months.
And not just in Spain.