Eurozone advances on spending cuts
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
Spain's public spending cuts passed today by one vote. Measures include frozen state pension, pay cuts of 5 percent or more, and an aim to cut the country's deficit in half by next year.
The spending cuts are considered to be a big turnaround for the socialist government in Madrid, says Marketplace's Stephen Beard. The major reversal is designed to bring down the Spanish budget deficit. Greece and Italy are also planning sizeable advances to their spending; in Rome, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's cabinet signed off on a series of budget cuts similar to those made by Spain. European countries are driven to convince investors that the Eurozone is getting its debt problems under control.
Analyst Graham Mather with the European Policy Forum doubts the effectiveness of the cuts. "The risk is that the confusion amongst the Eurozone members and the lack of German leadership will continue to persuade the markets that there's a big risk of default and that the Eurozone will continue to have a very fragile currency."
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner continues talks in Germany today to keep the push for reform strong in the Eurozone.