One of the perks of living in Europe is the generous vacation schedule. But the austerity moves across the continent could be changing that, at least in some places. Portugal, for example, recently cut four of its 14 annual holidays.
And Spain is shuffling its calendar to shorten extended weekends — something the prime minister says it can no longer afford. The change could mean the loss of a celebrated tradition: the four-day weekend.
Spain nationalized its largest real estate lender Wednesday night and plans to announce an overhaul of the country's entire banking system Friday.
The country is scrambling to prevent its troubled banks — weighed down by property debts — from sabotaging the whole economy. The Spanish government has only to look northward to Ireland to see what could happen if it fails.
After months of punishing austerity measures, some Spaniards want a break and maybe even some stimulus from Europe. But that didn't happen at Thursday's meeting of the governing board of the European Central Bank.
The location of the ECB summit in Barcelona was kept secret, which may indicate how well officials thought they'd be received in the Spanish port city. Thousands of demonstrators flooded the city's streets, as did police, some in plainclothes and masks, with helicopters overhead.
One in four Spaniards is jobless, and the rate is more than 50 percent for youth.
Bolivia and Argentina's nationalization of Spanish companies hasn't gone over well in Madrid. Spanish officials say Bolivia and Argentina will pay the price in the long run, as investors become weary of doing business if their assets could ultimately get seized.