Rajoy defiant on economy despite record jobless rate

PM rules out ministerial changes and claims reforms will begin to take effect toward end of government’s term

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Sunday defended the economic measures approved by his government last week, asserting that they will help create jobs toward the end of the current term. He also rejected claims of a planned Cabinet reshuffle, expressing "great satisfaction with the ministers in the economic area."

Last Friday, the Popular Party (PP) administration unveiled a new budget stability plan that pushes the end of the crisis to 2016 and admits that a further 1.3 million jobs will be lost during the remainder of the conservatives' term in office.

Speaking publicly on the issue for the first time since then, Rajoy said the decision to raise the deficit target for this year to 6.3 percent of GDP is "wise." The EU has yet to decide whether to allow Spain extra leeway on its deficit target for this year. He also insisted that he would rather speak the truth no matter how tough, and not disguise bad news just to please his audience.

In a joint press conference with the president of the EU Council, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Rajoy said he is fighting to achieve economic growth and create jobs in Spain.

Last week, the ranks of the jobless rose over the six-million mark for the first time in history, with the unemployment rate topping 27 percent.

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