Mr Rajoy has time on his side. He is only a year into a four-year term and enjoys an absolute majority in parliament. Catalonia is rumbling, but any stand-off over independence has been postponed two years or more. In electoral terms, he need fret about the economy only in 2016. He wants Germany to stimulate growth to help Spanish exports.
But Spaniards are shedding their enthusiasm for an EU that seems to impose austerity and prevents devaluation. Only 4% thought the EU was bad for Spain five years ago, but now 37% do. A century ago the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset declared that “Spain is the problem, Europe is the answer”. As the crisis drags on, Spaniards may start thinking the opposite.