Taxi and rail services strikes have disrupted transport in major European cities.
Two-thirds of trains were not running in some areas of France in a strike against reforms and taxis were blocking traffic around some airports.
Cab-drivers are protesting at what they regard as a lack of regulation of rival mobile service Uber.
A protest began in Madrid early on Wednesday and action was to take place in London, Milan and other cities.
The biggest taxi associations in Madrid asked their drivers to observe a 24-hour stoppage until 06:00 on Thursday morning. More than 15,000 licensed vehicles operate in Madrid, Spanish media say.
Taxi drivers in major European cities are protesting at what they regard as a lack of regulation of rival mobile service Uber
The London protest was to start in Trafalgar Square at 14:00 BST, with taxi drivers arguing that the Uber mobile app, which originated in the US, was tantamount to a taxi meter, which only black cabs are legally entitled to use in London.
Up to 12,000 drivers are expected to take part in the protest.
The Metropolitan Police said conditions had been imposed on protesters after they failed to meet with officers to discuss their plans.
In Milan, in northern Italy, a protest was taking place throughout Wednesday, although disruption was not expected to be on a similar scale as elsewhere, with boycotts expected of key sites such as railway stations and squares. Cab drivers also staged demonstrations in Rome and Naples.
Protests were taking place in several German cities, including Berlin and Hamburg.
But the worst of the disruption was in Paris, where train services were also badly affected by strike action.
Only one in three trains was running in the Paris region, although Eurostar services were unaffected.
Unions are objecting to plans to merge the rail network operator with the train company SNCF. The company said some 28% of railway staff had walked out.
Workers were also considering whether to extend the strike into Thursday. Several regions had voted to continue the stoppage, French media reported.
Jon Bon Jovi has revealed that his band have waived their fee at a concert in Madrid next month, given the country’s economic crisis.
The unusually cheap tickets have already sold out. They were on sale for between 18 and 39 euros.
Jon Bon Jovi has revealed that his band have waived their fee at a concert in Madrid next month, given the country’s economic crisis
This compares to the equivalent of 76 euros – the average ticket cost for a Bon Jovi concert in Manchester, UK, next week.
There were fears many fans would not be able to afford the full price.
Jon Bon Jovi, 51, told Spain’s El Mundo newspaper that when the band were planning this summer’s European tour, Madrid had originally been left-off the list of venues over fears that the event might not sell out because of Spain’s economic crisis.
Not wanting to let the Spanish fans down, Bon Jovi decided they would perform in Madrid on June 27 for free.
Spanish region of Catalonia has asked for a bailout of 5 billion euros ($6.3 billion) from the central government.
This summer, an 18 billion-euro public fund was set up by Madrid to aid its 17 autonomous regions, which are in deep debt.
Catalonia represents one-fifth of the Spanish economy.
It comes as official figures showed that Spain’s economy contracted further in the second quarter.
The economy shrunk by 0.4% between April and June after a 0.3% drop in the previous three months, the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica said.
Spanish region of Catalonia has asked for a bailout of 5 billion euros from the central government
The nation’s struggling economy has now declined for three straight quarters. On an annual basis, Spain’s economy contracted by 1.3% in the second quarter.
Speculation has persisted that the country will have to request a full financial rescue.
In June, Spain requested 100 billion euros ($122 billion) of loans from the eurozone’s bailout fund to help support its banks, which are struggling with bad debts from loans made in the property sector.
Despite this, the official figures show that Spain grew during 2011 as a whole despite earlier statements that it had shrunk for the year. But the economy contracted in 2010 more than had been stated.
The European Central Bank has said it will come up with ways to help eurozone countries, leading to raised hopes that it will buy Spanish debt to push down the cost of borrowing.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said he will do “what was best for the Spanish people” and is considering all options regarding a bailout, which has helped calm markets.
On Tuesday, the interest that Spain pays to borrow for three months fell to 0.946%, from 2.434% at a similar auction in July. Six-month debt dropped to 2.026%, from 3.691%, at the sale.
But the rate of interest Spain pays on longer-term borrowing has remained high because of investor concerns, making it difficult for the nation to service its debts.
Last month, Madrid announced additional spending cuts and tax rises worth 65 billion euros.
Meanwhile, the so-called troika – the International Monetary Fund, the ECB and the European Commission – are in Lisbon to monitor the progress that Portugal is making on its commitments under its bailout.
Last week, official figures indicated that the government would probably miss its target of deficit target unless it found ways to tighten the budget further.
This comes after the troika visited Greece last week.
Greece’s continued access to the bailout packages depends on a favorable report from the troika.
Athens is trying to finalize a package of 11.5 billion euros of spending cuts over the next two years to qualify for the next 33.5 billion-euro installment of its second 130 billion-euro bailout.
King Juan Carlos I of Spain, who is still recovering from his fall in Botswana and who has been using a crutch, took another tumble yesterday when he was inspecting the troops during a visit to the Estado Mayor de la Defence.
King Juan Carlos tripped on a step and fell to the floor hitting his nose and chin hard. His injuries did not stop him continuing with his visit and he presided over the meeting of the military chiefs.
King Juan Carlos took another tumble yesterday when he was inspecting the troops during a visit to the Estado Mayor de la Defence
Yesterday evening at 17:00, King Juan Carlos was due to meet the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti.
The King has had several falls, and has passed through surgery nine times since the 80’s.
Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo will compete to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics after Qatar’s Doha and Azerbaijan’s Baku were cut from the list on Wednesday.
The shortlist was announced at the International Olympic Committee’s executive meeting in Quebec City.
Doha and Baku were rejected for a second time in a row after failing to make the final list for the 2016 Games.
The winning host city will be named on 7 September 2013 in Buenos Aires.
The 15-member executive board, headed by IOC president Jacques Rogge, chose the finalists after examining a technical evaluation report compiled by a panel of Olympic experts.
Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo will compete to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics after Qatar's Doha and Azerbaijan's Baku were cut from the list
Japan’s Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964, while neither Istanbul in Turkey nor Spain’s Madrid has held the Games. Madrid is bidding for a third consecutive time, Tokyo a second time in a row and Istanbul a fifth time overall.
Doha, which was proposing to hold the 2020 Olympics in October rather than the usual July/August schedule to avoid the Gulf Arab state’s searing summer heat, is already hosting the 2022 World Cup football tournament.
“This is a great disappointment for the Doha team,” said Noora Al Mannai, chief executive of Doha 2020.
“With so many sports venues already in place and budgeted for, we felt that we offered the IOC great certainty and a low cost Games plan as well as an exciting legacy vision, especially around developing women’s sport in the Middle East.
“However for Doha, it will always be a question of when not if.”
Rome pulled out of the running in February because of the country’s efforts to head off a debt crisis.
London will host the 2012 Summer Games from 27 July – 12 August, while the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro will stage the 2016 Olympics.