Spanish PM Unveils $80 Billion Austerity Plan

Posted July 11th, 2012 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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Spain's prime minister has announced a package of spending cuts and higher taxes that he says will save the country $80 billion by the end of 2014.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy unveiled the austerity plan to lawmakers Wednesday, saying the country is at a “crucial” moment and must end its budget crisis as soon as possible.

The package includes cuts to civil service wages and unemployment benefits, as well as sales tax increases.

Hundreds of coal miners and their supporters marched through the streets of the capital, Madrid, to protest big cuts in subsidies to mining companies that they say will destroy their industry. Some had walked for days from Spain's mining regions to take part in the protest.

Five people were reported arrested after protesters threw rocks, cans, and bottles at riot police. Police fired back with rubber bullets.

Eurozone finance ministers agreed Tuesday to give Spain until 2014 to meet budget deficit targets, and to provide a $37 billion bailout for the country's ailing banks.