Spain's national library chief resigns

11th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain's national library chief Milagros del Corral has resigned after the government slashed her institution's budget by nearly 15 percent and downgraded her role.

The Socialist government, in the context of a new set of cost-cutting measures, cut 7.5 million euros (9.5 million dollars) or nearly 15 percent from institution's 52 million euro budget and demoted Corral from managing director to simple director.

Corral described her demotion as "irrational", and told AFP on Monday that it showed the Socialist government's "contempt for culture".

The decision by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government had been met with "amazement" and "indignation" in Spanish cultural circles, she said.

Spain's government recently approved a 50-billion-euro austerity plan as it tries to rein in public spending as markets have demanded higher rates to buy its bonds in the wake of the Greek finance crisis.

Disagreements with Culture Minister Angeles Gonzales-Sinde could also be at the root of Corral's departure, Spanish media said.

The national library, which was founded nearly 300 years ago, is an autonomous institution that employs some 1,000 people and has launched a project to digitise its archive.

© 2010 AFP

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