EU refuses to compare Spain to Portugal

7th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The European Commission refused Thursday to compare Spain to Portugal after Lisbon appealed for financial help, saying that Madrid was meeting its deficit-cutting goals despite economic challenges.

"Spain must be judged on its on merits. Spain is on track to meet its objectives in terms of deficit reduction for 2010 and 2011," said Amadeu Altafaj, commission spokesman for economic affairs.

"The Spanish economy is facing big challenges but it is fulfilling its commitments," Altafaj told a news briefing, adding that Madrid had undertaken "important economic reforms."

He refused to be drawn into making a parallel with Portugal, which joined eurozone peers Greece and Ireland in asking for a bailout, raising concerns that Spain could be next in line.

"Spain is meeting its commitments, so we do not make any analogy," Altafaj said. "We do not speculate in this type of scenario."

Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado insisted on Thursday that Spain was not at risk at all after Portugal" asked for a bailout.

She emphasized that the Spanish economy was "distinct" from Portugal's as it is "larger, more diversified and more productive."

Also, the Spanish government's economic reforms are "deeper" and carried out "at a faster pace" than in Lisbon, she told Spanish National Radio.

© 2011 AFP

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