Business

Spain sets out austerity measures

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero addressing parliament, 12 May 2010
Image caption Prime Minister Zapatero has been under pressure to make faster cuts

The Spanish government has approved a 15bn-euro ($19bn; £13bn) austerity plan to rein in the public deficit and ease fears of a Greek-style debt crisis.

The programme is intended to reduce a deficit of 11% of GDP to 6% by 2011.

The plan, unveiled last week by PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, will involve a 5% cut to public sector salaries.

Many Spaniards fear the effect the cuts will have on the economy, where the unemployment rate exceeds 20% - twice the eurozone average.

There was some economic cheer last week, when statistics showed Spain had moved out of recession in the first quarter of this year, with growth of 0.1%.

The European Union has been anxious to see more fragile European economies including Spain, Portugal and Greece impose tougher austerity measures.

This month, the EU approved a 750bn-euro rescue package to prop up European economies struggling with large debts.