Barroso in ‘no doubt’ Spain will respect fiscal compact

6 Mar 12
European Commission president José Manuel Barroso today said he had ‘no doubt’ Spain would comply with the new eurozone fiscal compact, although its deficit has risen

By Nick Mann | 5 March 2012 

European Commission president José Manuel Barroso today said he had ‘no doubt’ Spain would comply with the new eurozone fiscal compact, although its deficit has risen.

On Friday, Spain revised its deficit forecast in 2012 from 4.4% of gross domestic product to 5.8%. It also confirmed it reached 8.5% of GDP in 2011, against a target of 6%.

Speaking on a visit to Vienna this morning, Barroso said he was still waiting for information about the reasons for the ‘slippage’ in 2011. He also noted that Spain’s final budget for 2012 was not expected until the end of March.

But he said: ‘I have no doubt that the government will honour its commitments to respect the stability and growth pact and to respect the rules and governance in the euro area and the European Union.’

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, was one of 25 European Union leaders to sign the eurozone fiscal compact and Barroso said he was ‘sure’ he would ‘respect’ the agreement.

‘I am sure that Spain will honour its commitments to financial and budgetary stability. This is very much in the interests not only of the euro area but of Spain itself.’

Luis de Guindos, the Spanish minister for economic affairs and competitiveness, also said on Friday that the country’s economy is expected to shrink by 1.7% this year. This forecast was ‘realistic in its hypothesis, in its approach and in its results’, he said. ‘The government will never raise false expectations in the minds of the Spanish people that cannot be lived up to.’

Unemployment is expected to increase to 24.3%, with 630,000 more jobs lost over the course of 2012, he added.

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