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Spain 'very confident' deficit targets will be met in face of EU scepticism

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Spain 'very confident' deficit targets will be met in face of EU scepticism
PM Rajoy: "I am very confident". Photo: Gerard Julien / AFP
15:21 CEST+02:00
Spain's government on Tuesday vowed the country would meet its targets for lowering the deficit of its recovering public finances, in the face of scepticism from EU authorities.

As it prepares to fight for re-election in December, it denied claims that its budget forecasts were too optimistic.

"I can guarantee that the public accounts will meet the deficit target of 4.2 percent (of GDP) this year... and 2.8 percent for 2016," minister Jose Manuel Soria said in a television interview.

He denied claims that the government's strong forecasts were "electioneering" ahead of the legislative polls on December 20th.

Spain's economy has started to recover since 2013, and "more economic growth means more people employed and paying taxes and more revenues for the state which will enable the deficit target to be reached."

Spain's conservative government has made tens of billions of euros in spending cuts over recent years which it said were necessary to drag the country out of an economic crisis.

But the EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici has said Spain's latest forecasts are "a bit optimistic".

The European Commission forecast Madrid would record a public deficit of 4.5 percent of gross domestic product this year and 3.5 percent in 2016 - still above the three-percent limit set in EU treaties.

On Monday the commission asked Spain to make a fresh effort to shave its deficit next year. It urged Madrid to "present as quickly as possible a revised budget programme".

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy responded this week in New York: "I am very confident, and the Spanish people are too, that we are going to meet the deficit."

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