Spanish PM cancels holiday to focus on economy: media

27th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will skip his summer holiday this year and stay in Madrid to focus on resolving the nation's economic problems, Spanish media reported Tuesday.

The 49-year-old, who usually takes his summer holiday in August with his wife and two daughters, will only take time off at weekends, the online edition of daily newspaper El Mundo reported citing government sources.

He will use his time in Madrid to prepare for a key parliamentary debate on the 2011 budget and to analyse the evolution of the country's economic indicators, it added.

Contacted by AFP, a government spokesman said he did not have any official information for the moment on Zapatero's holiday plans.

It would be the first time that Zapatero has not taken a summer holiday since he came to power in 2004.

The Spanish economy, Europe's fifth largest, fell into its worst recession in decades at the end of 2008 due to the collapse of a property boom which had long fuelled growth.

It inched out of recession during the first quarter when it expanded by 0.1 percent from the previous quarter and the government expects it will expand by 0.3 percent this year.

But growth is expected to remain sluggish for several years and the country's unemployment rate has soared to nearly 20 percent, the second highest rate in the 27-nation European Union after Latvia.

The economic slowdown caused the public deficit to balloon to 11.2 percent of gross domestic product last year, the third highest level in the eurozone after Greece and Ireland.

© 2010 AFP

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