Economic crisis in Spain: EU approves measures

Eurogrupo praise Spanish government for latest anti-crisis measures

Yesterday Ministers from the Eurozone declared that they were ‘very impressed’ by the latest measures introduced by the Spanish government aimed at tackling the debt crisis. They also said that they believe that the action taken by Zapatero would allow Spain to reach its objective of reducing national debt to 6% of GDP by 2011 and would also serve to prevent the crisis spreading to other European states not in the Eurozone.

At the meeting Elena Salgado, the Spanish Vice-President and Minister for the Economy, presented the new package of initiatives to her European counterparts. New measures to be adopted by the Spanish government include getting rid of the 426 euros paid to those unemployed whose benefits have run out and the partial privatization of the organization which controls Spanish airspace (AENA) and the body which runs the national lottery in addition to a rise of 28% on the price of tobacco.

Following the meeting Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, said that the group praised the Spanish government for its programme of substantial financial, economic and structural reforms and its commitment to fulfilling the objective of reducing Spain’s budget deficit.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg and Chairman of the group, said that he was very impressed by the programme of consolidation announced by the Spanish government and said that he believed that the measures would please the markets.

The Commissioner for Economic Affairs emphasised that Spain’s plan included increasing transparency in the financial sector and plans for privatization as well as bringing forward plans to reform labour and pension laws.

With regards to Portugal the group said that it was making ‘notable progress’ but that they would like more details on the structural reforms that the Portuguese government plans to introduce.