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AP Interview: Spain Minister Laments Unemployment

"We rule out any spending cuts because we are on track" to meet the deficit target, he said, adding that authorities are not considering slowing the pace of deficit reduction.

The IMF said this week that Spain and France could afford to ease up on austerity measures because they have made progress in cutting budget deficits.

As Europe is on the cusp of emerging from a deep economic crisis, de Guindos said he sees some bright spots.

"There is a rebalancing of competitiveness in the eurozone. The southern European peripheral countries have started to gain competitiveness vis-a-vis the central or core countries of the eurozone," he said, referring to the 17 countries that use the euro currency.

He said many are watching Ireland's recovery to assess whether the austere economic policies guided by international lenders have been a success. Ireland's crisis began before Spain's.

Turning to the problems just a few blocks away in the U.S. Capitol, the minister said he hopes the U.S. will soon resolve the political impasse over raising the debt ceiling. The deadlock has sent jitters around the world, where many worry that failure to raise the debt ceiling could cause a U.S. debt default with repercussions abroad that could derail the fragile global economic recovery.

"It is a source of uncertainty now while we are not short of sources of uncertainty in the global economy," he said. "So I think that we should try to close the issue as soon as possible."

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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