‘Spain has turned a corner’: Eurogroup chief

Spain is on the path to recovery after a two year battle against recession but it must strengthen labour market reforms, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Monday.

'Spain has turned a corner': Eurogroup chief
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (R) speaks with Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem during a meeting at La Moncloa Palace in Madrid. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

"The measures taken have not been easy and the job is not yet done. But all signs indicate that Spain has turned a corner and is now on the road to recovery," said Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister.

"As a result, Spain is now in much better shape than it was a year ago."

Spain, the eurozone's fourth largest economy, emerged from a long recession with 0.1-percent growth in the third quarter, according to the Bank of Spain.

The jobless rate eased slightly to 25.98 percent in the same quarter from 26.26 percent in the previous three months, official data show.

Dijsselbloem, leader of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, said Spanish banks' balance sheets had improved "markedly" since they had withdrawn 41.3 billion euros ($57 billion) from a European Union rescue loan extended last year to bail out struggling lenders.

Asked about the need for further reforms in Spain, he said Spanish unemployment was very high, especially among the young, and more market reforms were required to unleash growth. Latest official data showed 54.39 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds were unemployed in the third quarter.

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