The European Union has a new target for its ire: Spain. Even as it has lost patience with Greece over what it sees as inadequate and halfhearted attempts to implement austerity, it has a bone to pick with the new Spanish government, which it will likely sanction over a number of issues.
Reuters reported that the EU believes Spanish officials overstated 2011 deficit figures so that data for 2012 would look better in comparison. It also is concerned that Spain has failed to implement austerity measures quickly enough, which, according to three unidentified senior EU officials, would affect the country’s growth over the longer term. As a result, as early as May the new government may feel the sting of the EU’s anger.
One of the officials was quoted saying, in response to a question about whether Olli Rehn, European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, would recommend sanctions, “It is very likely. It is not that we want to. But if there is a deviation, and it is almost inevitable, then we will have to.”