Spanish PM vows to hit deficit target
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero vowed Thursday to cut Spain's public deficit to 6.0 percent of economic output in 2011 as promised, without new austerity measures.
"We are in a position to confirm that we will achieve the deficit goal, which is six percent," Zapatero said in an interview with Spanish public radio.
Compliance with the budget in the first quarter of 2011 was "very satisfactory", he said.
But the performance by the 17 semi-autonomous regional governments was "less satisfactory", he said, urging them to make further efforts.
Asked whether further austerity measures would be needed, the prime minister replied: "No, there is no plan of that kind."
Spain's budget deficit narrowed in the first four months of the year, according to Finance Ministry figures released Tuesday.
Excluding the states, the budget deficit shrank 53.0 percent from a year earlier to 2.45 billion euros by the end of April, equal to 0.22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
In the 17 regions, the cumulated deficit in the first three months amounted to 0.46 percent of GDP but only half of the regions submitted forecasts that complied with the 1.3-percent target for 2011.
Financial markets fear the high level of debt in Spain's regions, which have run up about 105 billion euros ($150 billion) in red ink, may compromise Madrid's efforts to trim its deficit.
Spain's government has promised to reduce the deficit from 9.24 percent of GDP in 2010 to 6.0 percent in 2011, 4.0 percent in 2012, 3.0 percent in 2011 and 2.1 percent in 2014.
© 2011 AFP