EU sets new deficit sets deadlines for Spain and Portugal

EU sets new deficit sets deadlines for Spain and Portugal

The European Union has set new deadlines for Spain and Portugal to bring their budget deficits into line after both countries escaped fines for failing to rein in spending.

A spokesman said: "Portugal is now required to correct its deficit by 2016 and Spain by 2018 at the latest."

The dates had been proposed by the executive Commission and officially approved on Tuesday by all EU states.

The two countries must submit a report by October 15 on how they plan to bring their deficits under the EU ceiling of 3% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Portugal expects its deficit will fall from 4.4% of GDP last year to 2.2% this year. Last year's deficit in Spain, where inconclusive elections caused political paralysis, was 5.1%.

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