The Spanish government's erratic response to the crisis has irritated European Union leaders, Spain's leading newspaper El Pais said on its front page Thursday.
The paper said Rajoy has come under criticism in EU circles for presenting the bailout as a "light" measure and a victory for Spain and the euro, leading to an outcry for similar treatment by other austerity-saddled bailout countries such as Portugal and Ireland, which have had to struggle with heavy, externally imposed fiscal controls.
Speaking to the German parliament in Berlin on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted: "Spain is implementing the right reforms."
"The Spanish Prime Minister is doing this with great courage and great determination," she added.
Merkel again welcomed Spain's move to apply for European funds to recapitalize its banks. "We know banks must be reasonably capitalized to do keep the economy afloat, that is the lesson from 2008, 2009," she said.
"The faster Spain gets the application done, the better," she said.
Spain's benchmark stock index, the IBEX-35, closed up 1.2 percent Thursday in Madrid, according to financial data provider FactSet. The 10-year bond yield eased in the afternoon and closed at 6.87 percent, still a euro-era closing record.
Daniel Woolls and Jorge Sainz in Madrid, Juergen Baetz in Berlin and Sarah DiLorenzo in Brussels contributed to this report.
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