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Spain has pledged 3.5 billion euros over the next four years to help ease mass unemployment among the country’s youth, with a third of the money coming from a special European fund.

The country has a 26 percent unemployment rate, but among 18 to 26-year-olds that figure raises to 50 percent.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced more than a hundred measures including tax breaks for young freelance workers and for companies that hire staff in their twenties.

“The crisis is forcing many young people to leave Spain,” Rajoy said. “Precisely those who don’t give up, the most dynamic, those who we really need to preserve. Every effort to regain that talent will not be enough.”

Public anger over austerity measures is growing as Spain enters its fifth year of economic stagnation and recession.

The government has trimmed the budget by tens of billions of euros this year and last.

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