Zapatero rejects Rajoy crisis plan ahead of meeting
Spain’s prime minister dismisses Popular Party’s proposal for 2009 budget cuts as doing little to help ahead of the meeting between the two leaders.23 July 2008
MADRID - Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Tuesday rejected out of hand a budget proposal from opposition leader Mariano Rajoy, a day before the two are due to hold their first face-to-face meeting since the general election in March.
Speaking at an event in Madrid marking the Socialist government's first 100 days in office of the current legislature, Zapatero argued that the Popular Party's proposal for budget cuts in 2009 in order to prevent a deficit would do little to help those segments of the population most in need as Spain struggles through its worst economic crisis in 15 years.
"Plans [like the PP's] hit the least fortunate the hardest, workers and those who have little," Zapatero said. He added that his government would not countenance a "drastic cut in public spending" because "we all know who ends up paying".
Zapatero's rejection of Rajoy's proposal bodes ill for Tuesday's meeting at the Moncloa Palace where the two politicians had been expected to seek agreement on reforming Spain's ailing justice system and on rebuilding a bipartisan pact on counterterrorism policy.
[El Pais / Ángeles Espinosa / Expatica]