Spain is raising retirement age and cutting down on early retirement as part of its debt-reduction efforts, Finance Minister Luis De Guindos said after the cabinet met on Thursday to approve the 2013 budget. Spain will dip into a 3-billion-euro reserve fund to cover pensions, government spokesperson Soraya Saenz de Santamaria explained. The government resorted to a similar 4.4 billion euro reserve fund for August pension payments.
Spain has not yet decided whether or not to resort to international aid, such as the spread shield, De Guindos said.
The mere announcement that spread shield funds are available ''has brought the spread down in Spain and in other countries, like Italy,'' De Guindos remarked. This proves that the current problems ''go beyond national borders, because the future of the euro is at stake here,'' the minister added.
The government has also decided to set up an independent auditing authority to look over the budget and guarantee transparency, officials said.