EU disputes S&P rating cut, says budget commitment firm

BRUSSELS Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:30am EST

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Friday that Standard & Poor's was wrong to cut the European Union's credit rating to AA+ from AAA since the 28 member states' commitment to running a balanced EU budget was underpinned by treaty.

S&P downgraded the EU for the first time on Friday, citing rising tensions on budget negotiations. The move follows cuts to the sovereign ratings of EU member states in recent months.

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a statement: "The Commission disagrees with S&P that member states' obligations to the budget in a stress scenario are questionable. All member states have always, and also throughout the financial crisis, provided their expected contributions to the budget in full and in time."

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Writing by Paul Taylor)

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