Spain to vote next month on EU bailout changes

AP News
Posted: Aug 08, 2011 4:01 PM
Spain to vote next month on EU bailout changes

Spain's Parliament won't vote on key changes to the European Union's bailout funds until September because the legislature is in the midst of its summer recess, a Spanish Finance Ministry official said Monday.

The vote will be held next month even though Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero last week urged European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to press eurozone countries to act quickly on the reforms agreed July 21 at an EU summit.

No precise date has been set in Spain's parliament for September vote, said the finance ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with ministry rules.

But it must occur before Sept. 26 so Parliament can be dissolved ahead of early general elections on Nov. 20 called by Zapatero.

He decided on early elections ahead of a vote expected in March because of ramped up pressure on Spain due to the financial crisis. Zapatero has also said he wants a new administration in place to deal with Spain's troubled economy for all of next year instead of part of it.

Zapatero also spoke by telephone Monday with U.S. President Barack Obama about the state of the global economy and volatile financial markets.

"The two leaders highlighted the need to work collaboratively to strengthen economic growth and prevent the slowdown," Zapatero's administration said in a statement.

They also agreed that economic teams of both countries will maintain contact in an attempt to "promote stability and avoid global economic slowdown.

Spain is in the midst of economic crisis with unemployment of nearly 21 percent _ the highest in the eurozone. Economists predict Europe's fourth largest economy faces years of sluggish growth ahead. Both Spain and Italy are in the spotlight as possible candidates as Europe's next bailout victim.


AP Business Writer Alan Clendenning contributed from Madrid.