Zapatero takes the 'big scissors' to spending plans: Spanish press
The Spanish press Thursday highlighted the scale and severity of the government's new austerity measures, which involved a "political sacrifice" by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
"Zapatero gets out the big scissors," said the economic daily Cinco Dias.
"The big cut," said another business paper, L'Expansion.
The conservative newspaper ABC said Zapatero, "forced to rectify his policies.., carries out a dramatic cut."
"Zapatero sacrifices his social policies," was the headline in Spain's leading daily El Pais, which is close to the ruling Socialist Party.
The prime minister on Wednesday announced austerity measures worth 15 billion euros over two years following speculative attacks on the euro last week.
The cuts are in addition to a 50-billion-euro (63-billion-dollar) austerity package announced in January designed to slash the deficit to three percent of GDP by 2013 from 11.2 percent last year.
The latest measures include a five percent pay cut for public workers, a partial freeze on pensions and the scrapping of a 2,500-euro-payout to parents for the birth of children, a key part of Zapatero's social platform to boost Spain's lagging birth rate.
"Finally ... the big scissors," said the Catalan daily El Periodico.
The centre-right newspaper El Mundo said the measures were a sign that Zapatero's previous economic policies had failed and he had been forced onto "the terrible path of rectification."
El Pais also said the measures were "the hardest adjustment in recent history", while the centre-right La Razon described them as "the biggest social social cuts in history."
The business daily elEconomista said "Zapatero confronts the crisis for the first time but avoids major reforms."
© 2010 AFP