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IMF ‘very impressed’ by Spanish austerity measures

The International Monetary Fund is “very impressed” by Spanish measures to end the country’s fiscal crisis, a spokeswomen for the Washington-based institution said Thursday.

“We are very impressed by the deficit targets they have announced that seem fully appropriate,” said Caroline Atkinson.

Her comments came after Spain bit the bullet and approved crucial reforms of its rigid job market Wednesday.

The cabinet agreed the sweeping labor reforms, deemed essential for reviving the economy and fending off a Greek-style debt crisis, despite a union call for a general strike against them.

Spain’s public deficit swelled to 11.2 percent of output last year, prompting the Socialist government to launch an austerity drive to slash the shortfall between its revenues and its spending to three percent in 2013.

The move was designed to reassure investors that Spain can afford to meet its debt obligations, but did little to quell rumors that Spain might need a 200 to 250-billion-euro (246 to 307-billion-dollar) bailout from the European Union.

EU and Spanish officials have strongly denied the reports.