As recently as September, the prime minister boasted that in the Champions League of global economies, Spain had "won the most games".
Worst hit will be Spain, where it predicts unemployment will be close to 15% next year, up from 8.3% in 2007.
The Plan of Return also represents a sea change in the Spanish government's once famously lenient immigration policies. Three years after offering work and residency papers to 750,000 migrants in a massive legalization, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has gone on record supporting the European Union's controversial Return Directive, which allows members states to hold undocumented migrants for up to 18 months
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