Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told reporters that he would do “what was best for the Spanish people”.
But he failed to mention that that would include new spending cuts, announced just hours later.
Instead he kept his options open over any request for eurozone rescue funds and insisted that he had no intention of slashing pensions.
“That would be the last budget I would modify”, conservative Rajoy told his first post-cabinet meeting news conference since he became prime minister in December.
As social tensions rise, recession-hit Spain is to cut spending by some 102 billion euros by 2014. Brussels demanded more belt-tightening in return for easing Spain‘s budget deficit targets.
The cuts, which include a 65 billion euro austerity package announced earlier, will be felt in health, education and other public services. And with nearly one in four people unemployed, that is likely to spark more anger on the streets.
On Friday, civil servants staged an anti-austerity march in Madrid and rail workers went on strike for the day to protest at the privatisation of the sector.