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Spain Criticizes Schröder for Economy Jab

Warning that Germany should not "pour more oil on the fire," the Spanish government sharply criticized German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder Thursday for his accusation that Spain’s economic growth has been spurred by generous European Union subsidies. In a speech before Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, on Wednesday, Schröder said that Spanish economic growth had been at least partially fueled by the EU, which subsidizes more than 1 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product. "Incidentally, just as an aside, 25 percent of that is paid by Germany," Schröder said. Schröder made the jibe during a speech defending his government’s budget proposal, which will push the country’s deficit spending over the euro zone limit. As the largest EU economy, Germany has faced considerable criticism from Brussels and other member states for its stagnant economy. Spain, meanwhile, is often pointed to as an EU economic success story. Not surprisingly, Schröder's comparison didn’t go down too well in Madrid. Since Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar took office in 1996, Spain reformed its budget and spending to be more economically flexible, wrote the newspaper El Mundo. "He (Schröder) did nothing, And that’s just how it is."