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Spain to hit targets, promises pension reform in Q1

Source: Reuters - Thu 18th Nov 2010

Spain's Prime Minister said on Thursday he was committed to presenting a pension reform to parliament in the first quarter, while insisting Spain was on track to meet its 2010 targets for the budget deficit and economic output.

Zapatero's comments were aimed at calming investor concerns that Spain could potentially be one of the countries next in line after Greece and Ireland to seek international aid to help resolve its debt problems.

"I want to confirm our commitment (to pension reform) once again. We're not turning back," Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told parliament.

Spain has implemented tough austerity measures and labour market reforms as it aims to cut its budget deficit to within EU limits and revamp a struggling jobs market. Economists believe a reform of its pension system is also necessary.

Zapatero conceded it would still take time for job creation to return to a pre-crisis pace.

Spain has the highest unemployment in the euro zone at close to 20 percent. The government expects the economy to contract 0.3 percent this year.

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