EU sanctions over budget deficit "counterproductive," says Spain

The government in Madrid has called on the European Union not to impose sanctions on Spain over missing its debt target for 2015, in a document published by the Finance Ministry overnight Thursday.

"Spain is no threat to the financial stability of the euro area," the ministry said, adding that the country was committed to keep new debts below the usual limit of 3 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Therefore sanctions would be "counterproductive."

The budget deficit in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy stood at 5.2 per cent of its GDP in 2015, larger than the 4.2 per cent maximum specially agreed with the European Union.

In the document addressed to the EU Commission, Madrid also stressed economic reforms and savings measures passed by the country in recent years.

The budget deficit for 2015 had exceeded the 4.2 per cent maximum agreed with the European Union in part because of lower-than-expected income from taxes as the result of a negative inflation rate, it said.

The Spanish government also said it would increase income from corporation tax by 6 billion euros this year.

EU finance ministers on Tuesday agreed that Portugal and Spain had failed to take effective action to whittle down their public deficits and gave the two countries 10 days to argue why they should not be hit with fines.

Last update: Thu, 14/07/2016 - 12:12

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