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23 November 2009
Prime Minister (Presidente del Gobierno) Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero yesterday announced that the government will approve a sweeping package of reforms this week aimed at changing Spain's economic growth model, AFP reports.
Zapatero said "the reforms will touch on all areas of the economy from labour laws to the education system so that Spain once again grows strongly in a more sustained way."
The Prime Minister said that the reforms would include a focus on renewable energy, high-quality education and a more modern public administration but he provided no concrete detail.
According to the European Union's Statistics Office (Eurostat), Europe's fifth largest economy with just over 46 million people accounts for almost half of the rise in the number of jobless in the 16 countries sharing the Euro currency over the last year.
Spain's economy contracted by 0.3% in the third quarter of 2009, which represents its fifth straight quarterly decline contrasting with a return to growth in the entire Eurozone of 0.4% during the same period.
The Governor of the Bank of Spain, Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez, said earlier this month that "the country's growth model is unsustainable as it is excessively based on construction [which is in huge decline]."
Figures released by the Paris-based CEPII Institute show that Spain accounts for just 3% of 'high-quality' European exports compared to 12% for France and almost a third for Germany.
The Governor of the Bank of Spain said further that "without reforms in the labour market Spain will face a long period of high unemployment."