Spain moves to aid growing numbers of unemployed

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The government of Spain is considering extending the conditions under which job seekers can claim benefits.

Madrid – The government of Spain, which has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union, said on Tuesday it was considering extending the conditions under which job seekers can claim benefits.

"We are in the process of studying what happens when a person no longer has rights to unemployment benefits," said Finance Minister Elena Salgado.

"We are a socialist government, and so we want people in this situation, with difficulties, family responsibilities, with other sources of revenue, to be able to continue to receive benefits."

The jobless benefit would be "linked to training because I believe that that is the key," she said in an interview with public television.

Spain's economy, Europe's fifth largest, has been hit particularly hard by the world economic crisis after a decade-long boom driven by the construction industry came to an end.

The crisis has pushed up unemployment, which hit 17.36 percent in the first quarter, more than double the average for the European Union.

AFP / Expatica

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