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Spain says banks need $77 billion to survive

BRUSSELS — European governments struggling to clamber from the euro crisis have issued a series of mind-numbing figures this week. The latest from Spain on Friday revealed that its cash-strapped banks need $77 billion to stay afloat, the same day France announced a "combat budget" that bucks Europe’s austerity trend by raising taxes by $26 billion. However, those and other painful initiatives to cut debt and deficits may be undermined by a decision by Germany, Finland and the Netherlands.

Spain risks further unrest with austerity budget

  BRUSSELS — The Spanish government announced a new austerity budget Thursday that cuts $51.3 billion from ministerial spending but drops an unpopular pension freeze as it seeks to reassure markets and creditors while appeasing a mounting wave of public anger. Markets cautiously welcomed the news and European authorities were quick to praise economic reforms announced with the spending cuts.

Protests puncture euro zone optimism

BRUSSELS — Days after it seemed European policymakers may have finally launched a drive to save the continent’s single currency, the euro zone's battlefield is spreading from trading floors to the streets.

Greek workers protest austerity measures aimed to win EU-IMF loans (PHOTOS)

Greece is braced for a nationwide general strike to protest the latest round of spending cuts planned by the Greek government to unlock vital EU-IMF loans.

Spain next test for euro zone

  BRUSSELS — A curious calm has settled over Europe. The continent has been spared the usual dire warnings about the demise of its currency or an imminent economic meltdown for more than a week. However, that doesn't mean the euro zone is safe. With many countries facing the second part of a double-dip recession, Spain, Greece and Portugal all face tests in the coming days and weeks that could prove decisive for Europe's efforts to pull out of the debt crisis that has crippled many economies.

Companies target European poor with Third World marketing

BERLIN — Three years into the global financial crisis, multinational companies that had made huge profits during the consumer boom that preceded it faced a major dilemma: people were no longer buying the expensive premium products that once sold well in Europe. Many are now marketing products as if to customers in Third World countries.

Spain: Austerity cuts are prompting medical “apartheid”

BARCELONA — A new law has excluded tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from the healthcare system. The cash-strapped government expected little reaction from average Spanish voters, but a rebellion by thousands of doctors has caught it by surprise.

Euro zone breathes again as German court backs bailout fund

BRUSSELS — Eight middle-aged Germans in silk caps and scarlet robes may have just saved the world from financial meltdown. No one is pretending the euro zone is out of the woods, but Wednesday's ruling by Germany's constitutional court judges, coming a week after the European Central Bank agreed to buy up bonds of struggling countries, suggests Europe's policymakers may finally be getting their financial ducks in a row.

French say "Get lost, you rich jerk!"

BRUSSELS — France's richest man, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, denies that his Belgian citizenship application is a tax dodge after the new Socialist government pledges a 75 percent tax on millionaires.

Euro zone holds breath for German court decision

BERLIN — As euro zone officials struggle to find a way out of the debt crisis, the fate of European Union unity on top of its common currency may come down to a decision by this Germany’s highest court.
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