EU inspectors examine Spain’s finances

The European Commission (EC) has sent inspectors to examine Spain’s finances after the deficit for 2011 came in much higher than expected.

Spain’s deficit for 2011 was 8.5%, 2.5 points above the 6% that the European Commission was expecting.

Madrid also failed to meet it’s 4.4% target finishing the year at 5.8%.

Amadeu Altafaj, the EC spokesman on economic and monetary affairs, said “Technicians of the European Commission have been in Madrid this week to collect information on the (2011) public accounts,”

“It is a normal practice in all countries under an excessive deficit procedure,” he added.

Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Olli Rehn, has requested more details of the budget for 2011 and the final figures as some officials in Brussels have privately suggested that Rajoy’s new government may have overestimated the deficit for political reasons.

Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, said the government have provided all information requested by the Commission.

“We gave them as much information as we could, with the maximum transparency… Not only did we give the data they asked for but also the mechanisms we’re putting in place so that these circumstances don’t happen again,” she said at a press conference.

Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, said he believed Spain would present a 2012 budget “fully in line with EU budget rules”.

The commission are insisting that Spain present a budget based on the 4.4% target adding that there will be no discussions on relaxing it until May.

One eurozone official said that the commission could accept it if the target could not be reached due to worse than expected growth but only if all efforts to reach it had been made first.

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