EU criticizes Portugal, Spain for missing deficit targets

BRUSSELS – The European Union says Spain and Portugal have missed deadlines to get their financial houses in order.

The EU’s executive Commission said Thursday that the two failed to take “effective action” to rein in their excessive deficits over the last two years. Spain is likely to miss its goals in 2016 as well.

Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said “lately the two countries have veered off track in the correction of their excessive deficits and have not met their budgetary targets.”

The Commission will soon recommend new measures to bring their spending back into line. The two could face fines in the future.

Spain’s deficit stood at 5.1 per cent of gross domestic product last year instead of the target 4.2 per cent. Portugal’s was 4.4 per cent rather than 2.5 per cent.