EU's Rehn signals Spain might get more time to cut deficit

BRUSSELS Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:32am GMT

A man stands on a ladder at a restaurant in the Andalusian capital of Seville February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo

A man stands on a ladder at a restaurant in the Andalusian capital of Seville February 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Marcelo del Pozo

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Spain has made an effort to cut its structural budget gap and the country's economic growth turned out weaker than expected, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said, signalling Madrid might get more time to cut its budget gap.

"In the case of Spain, we have to take into account both... the structural fiscal effort undertaken by the government, as well as whether there has been an unexpected growth shortfall," Rehn told a news conference.

"And in the case of Spain, it seems that the structural fiscal effort has been undertaken and there has been also an unexpected shortfall of growth," he said.

"But as I said previously we will have to verify this in the coming weeks and months and we will in due course consider whether an extension of the EDP (excessive deficit procedure) deadline is warranted for Spain," he said.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Rex Merrifield)

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