Spain counted the cost of nationwide protests against the government’s planned austerity measures on Thursday. Demonstrators clashed with police in Barcelona and the capital Madrid during a general strike.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will unveil his proposed reforms on Friday. They are expected to include easing Spain’s restrictive hiring and firing laws and thirty billion euros in cuts and tax hikes.
Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union at twenty three percent.
Unions had expected Rajoy’s administration to water down some of the reforms amid warnings of more unrest in May. But the Spanish premier said no concessions would be made.
The government argues cuts are needed to lower the national deficit to within European Union limits.
It also wants to reassure jittery investors and avoid following Greece, Ireland and Portugal in needing an international bailout.