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Spain PM told unions country was close to bailout

Source: Reuters - Tue 6th Sep 2011

Spain's Prime Minister told trade unions on August 17 the country was close to needing a bailout like Greece, Ireland and Portugal, union leader Ignacio Fernandez Toxo said during an interview with state television.

"He told us (the situation) was really bad, he said he had seen it on the edge of the abyss, in the form of a bailout for the Spanish economy," Toxo said in an interview posted on the website of state television's 24-hour news channel on Monday.

"I don't know the data on which he based that. Nor did he give us the letter from the director of the European Central Bank."

Markets in early August drove Spain's bond yields perilously close to levels which forced Greece and others to reach out for aid, but have since come back down thanks to a sustained campaign of bond buying by the European Central Bank.

In response to Toxo's comments, Spain's Economy Minister Elena Salgado said "Spain being bailed out can be ruled out".

"There is uncertainty over the whole euro zone and in particular in those countries where we most frequently seek financing," she added.

Toxo, the general secretary of Spain's largest union, the CCOO, said Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero made the comments during a meeting with unions and employers' representatives about wage negotiations.

Unions are due to hold marches on Tuesday evening to protest against moves to put a debt brake in the constitution, which they say will result in cuts to social spending and affect the poorest in society.

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