Valencia ups bailout request from Spain government

Revelers play with tomato pulp during the annual "tomatina" tomato fight fiesta in the village of Bunol, near Valencia
Image caption Despite the economic woes, revellers in Valencia celebrated the annual Tomatina festival this week

Valencia has said it will need a bigger bailout from Spain's central government than it previously expected.

The region will ask for 4.5bn euros (£3.6bn; $5.6bn), more than had been suggested when it first made the plea earlier this summer, a spokeswoman confirmed.

This week, debt-ridden Catalonia also asked for a bailout of 5bn euros.

A 18bn-euro public fund was set up by Madrid to aid its 17 autonomous regions, which are in deep debt.

Valencia, along with Murcia, had already indicated in July that it would need help.

The area has become symbolic for its so-called white elephant projects, absorbing large amounts of government spending. For example, Castellon Airport, which cost billions, has yet to have a flight take off or land.

As a nation, Spain's struggling economy has declined for three consecutive quarters, as it continues to suffer from the effects of its property bust caused by the financial crisis.

In June, Spain requested 100bn euros of loans from the eurozone's bailout fund to help support its banks, which are struggling with bad debts from loans made in the property sector.

Speculation has persisted that the country will have to request a full financial rescue.

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