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Brazilian president slams European nations's austerity measures

(Xinhua)

12:00, July 14, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday criticized some European countries for their austerity measures in tackling the economic crisis.

"Several countries are slashing (year-end bonuses), cutting the salary of councillors by 30 percent, and raising taxes," said Rousseff in the inauguration of an oil platform in the northeastern Bahia state, warning that these belt-tightening measures would only make things worse.

Rousseff said cutting workforce in the debt-ridden European Union (EU) only served to increase the unemployment rate by 25 percent in the region.

Rousseff singled out Spain for its utmost austerity measures, as the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy this week announced a whopping value added tax increase of 3 percent and drastic cuts in public spending to reduce the fiscal deficit by 65 billion euros (about 78 billion dollars).

In contrast to the EU, Brazil is trying to boost its economy by lowering taxes and raising government spending, including the payment for training courses for employees.

"Our way is not to take away the rights of workers. We are going to help them systematically," said Rousseff.

Speaking of her government's efforts to battle the economic slowdown, Rousseff said Brazil's Central Bank this week lowered interest rates to 8 percent, the record low.

"The government is looking to guarantee that the country performs as best as possible and emerges from the crisis by making the most of the opportunities that a crisis always brings," said Rousseff.

She made clear that resource-rich Brazil will not restrict any labor rights, will boost stimulus measures and act to prevent the national currency, the real, from appreciating against the dollar as this would harm the already fragile industrial sector.

Due to the global financial crisis, Brazil's economic growth rate will drop to 2 percent this year, according to forecast.

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