Last summer, the Spain exchange traded fund (ETF) sank alongside the troubled PIIGS economy mired in debt. While it’s hardly back to health, a key economic agency recently pointed out the progress made up to this point.

The OECD said Spain’s funding conditions have improved, despite other persistent problems in the economy; namely, high unemployment, high debt and eroding confidence. In the fourth quarter, Spain managed to grow a very scant 0.2%. iShares MSCI Spain (NYSEArca: EWP) is up 15.4% in the last month, making it one of the best ETFs year-to-date. But with flat growth like that, you have to wonder how long it can put up those kinds of numbers. [Spain ETFs: Why the Banks Matter.]

According to The Economist, the need for reform and regulation is urgent as the country’s euro neighbors all hold on for life. Daniel De La Puente and Jonathon House for The Wall Street Journal reports that Spain’s government is close to winning broad support from opposition parties and unions for a pension-system overhaul aimed at putting public finances on  more stable ground. Hopes for renewed investor confidence is dominating the theme. [4 things to Watch As the EU Summit Kicks Off.]

Though Spain’s pension system is currently healthy, a rapidly aging population presents it with one of the European Union’s biggest long-term challenges.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.