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Should Europe Put Its Royalty Out to Pasture?

An ill-timed African vacation (to shoot at elephants) has landed Spain’s royal family in hot water with the public. At what point do cultural traditions themselves become anachronistic? 

What’s the Latest Development?

With Spain set to enter its second recession in three years, its King recently took a private hunting trip to Africa to shoot at elephants. After Kind Juan Carlos sustained a hip injury during the vacation, he was flown to Madrid on a private jet and then received medical attention. Now some politicians, and much of the public, are critical of his insensitivity toward the looming economic slowdown, due in part to new austerity measures imposed by the governing conservative party. Earlier, the King had said during a speech that he was loosing sleep over Spain’s jobless, numbering nearly a quarter of the workforce. 

What’s the Big Idea?

In Europe’s current time of austerity, royal families’ annual government subsidies are increasingly difficult to justify. “The [Spanish] government recently announced a squeeze of 27 billion euro, or about $35 billion, in the central budget, forcing each ministry to cut its spending by 17 percent. Meanwhile, as part of the austerity drive, public subsidies allocated to King Juan Carlos and his family will fall by 170,000 euros this year to 8.2 million euros.” If now is not the time for Europe to concentrate its dwindling public funds on its citizens, then when?

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