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By the end of 2012, unemployment in Spain hit 26 per cent of the active population — 5.9m people. It’s the highest level in the EU and in Spain’s history, and the government says it will keep on rising in the coming months.

PM Mariano Rajoy has decided to keep a €450 unemployment payment to the long-term unemployed, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel urges new reforms to tackle high youth unemployment.