Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said that he has no plans to ask Brussels for a bailout soon.
That followed a report Madrid could request help as early as next weekend.
“If a news agency reports that we’ll ask for aid this weekend, there can only be two explanations; that the agency is right, and knows more than I do, which is possible, or that they are not right,” Rajoy said with a smile when asked about the Reuters’ report.
Rajoy spoke after meeting with the leaders of the country’s regions, who he said have agreed to play their part in cutting spending, though details are still being discussed:
Rajoy told reporters: “The regional presidents have made a commitment to fiscal consolidation. This is very important as it helps to build confidence in our country. We are committed to fiscal consolidation and, therefore, reducing the budget deficit.”
The 17 regions, along with local administrations, account for half of Spain’s public spending.
EU sources say Brussels has assured Rajoy that it will not impose very tough conditions beyond the reforms and savings measures outlined by the Spanish government when he does ask for aid.
Madrid announced further belt-tightening measures for its 2013 budget on Thursday, as well saying it would detail some 43 structural reforms over the next six months.
Former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar told euronews he hopes that a bailout will not be needed: “Spain has the capacity to leave this crisis well. I hope that the decision in Spain will be so strong, so it will be not be necessary to talk about a bailout of the Spanish economy.”
A reminder of how bad the economy is came as Spain’s jobless rate rose yet again in September.
The dole queues grew as services sector laid off more workers at the end of the summer tourist season.
The latest figures suggest one in four of the Spanish workforce is now unemployed – that is 4.7 million people.
At the same time, last week’s stress tests of Spain’s banks were criticised.
The ratings agency Moody’s and economists at JP Morgan have calculated the independent audit greatly under-estimated how much the country’s top lenders would need to cope with a economic downturn and the true amount may be twice as much.