Felipe González remains the longest-serving prime minister of Spain, holding power in Europe from 1982 to 1996. His extensive experience in leadership makes him well placed to critique the way European leaders have dealt with the prolonged economic crisis, the effects of which have been felt everywhere, especially in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland and Italy.
In this ONE ON ONE interview, Mr. Gonzalez argues that there are two fundamental problems facing Europe as it attempts to deal with a crisis that has left millions of young people without jobs.
"First, we have made a mistake. We have to say clearly that we have made a mistake," he says.
Mr. Gonzalez accuses European leaders of mistaking a debt problem with a liquidity problem, and failing to implement the structural reforms needed to promote growth and employment.
"That's why the situation continues to worsen; both in the focus that has been given to the policies to face the crisis, and the structural reforms that are still pending," he says. "That's why we have to change the European policy towards the crisis. It's time to correct it."
Mr. Gonzalez explains that the only possible solution to Europe's woes is to create policies that are capable of generating employment.
"If there's not this policy of growth and employment, the youth will stop believing in Europe."
Mr. Gonzalez warns against "this rampant nationalism that has taken over all of the European political landscape," and urges young people to be politically engaged.
"Participate, mobilize, vote," he says, "Europeans should change things together."