Spanish government approves tough austerity plan

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The Spanish government late Thursday approved a 15-billion-euro austerity plan aimed at reining in the public deficit and easing fears of a Greek-style debt crisis.

The plan was approved at a cabinet meeting as thousands of public sector workers took to the streets to protest the measures, which include a five percent pay cut for civil servants.

Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez De la Vega told a news conference the belt-tightening plan is aimed at "speeding up the process" of reducing the deficit, which reached a massive 11.2 percent of gross domestic product last year.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the austerity measures last week.

© 2010 AFP

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