The Spanish government provided European Union official visiting the country with complete information on budget data for last year as part of an EU review of why Spain overshot its deficit target.
European Commission officials “were given maximum information with the greatest transparency and the government also took advantage of the visit to convey explanations to the commission about the important reforms that are being implemented in all sectors,” Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters in Madrid after the weekly Cabinet meeting.
Spain failed to tackle the euro area’s fourth-biggest budget gap in 2011 and the government said it will miss its original target set for this year as the economy faces its second recession since 2009 with unemployment forecast to rise to 24.3 percent.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who came to power in December, defied his EU partners on March 2 by raising the country’s deficit target for this year to 5.8 percent of gross domestic product from the 4.4 percent previously agreed with the EU. Rajoy said the old target wasn’t realistic after Spain’s 2011 deficit reached 8.5 percent, compared with the 6 percent pledged by the former Socialist government.
“We have no reason to doubt the figures supplied by Spain,” commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj told reporters in Brussels today. “What we need is to establish clarification on the figures,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at email@example.com