Spain and Britain pushing economic reforms

Madrid, Apr 8 (EFE).- Spain and Britain said again Monday that reforms are the way they will deal with the economic crisis, though Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted that the European Union must also do more.

Rajoy met Monday in Madrid with Britain's David Cameron to analyze the international economic situation and that of the EU in particular, but then came news of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's death.

Cameron appeared moved and suspended his joint press conference with Rajoy when he learned of the death of the "iron lady" and went back to London immediately.

Rajoy spoke to the press alone, calling Thatcher "one of the most important political leaders of the 20th century," and said that Cameron and he had consolidated their ambitious programs of reforms and deficit reduction measures.

At the same time, the Spanish leader emphasized that the efforts of individual countries are not enough and that the EU must also make an "urgent and major" effort.

He asked the EU to consider whether it might not be necessary to increase the authority of the European Central Bank so it can take direct action to influence the economy as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England do.

Cameron and Rajoy spoke of the possibility that Britain leave the EU sometime in the future, and the Spaniard told his British counterpart that he would observe such a process "with respect" but was happy that the British premier had shown himself "clearly in favor" of his country remaining within the Union.

Madrid and London have been historically at odds over Gibraltar, the British Crown Colony at the tip of the Iberian peninsula, the "chief dispute" in their bilateral relations, in the words of Rajoy, who showed a perfect readiness to discuss the matters that separate the two countries.

Besides meeting with Rajoy, Cameron met in Madrid with the management of large Spanish companies that have investments in Britain, such as Telefonica, Iberdrola, Iberia, OHL, FCC, Ferrovial, Gamesa, Santander and Acciona.