November 7, 2012 / 1:21 PM / in 5 years

EU's Rehn: budget focus must be on structural sustainability

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission is focused on structural sustainability of government finances in assessing euro zone budgets, the top EU economics official said on Wednesday.

“We are not focusing only on the nominal targets, even if these headline figures tend to dominate headlines,” EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told a news briefing.

“We are rather focusing on the structural sustainability of the public finances over the medium term, which is measured in terms of structural fiscal effort, and that’s what we are looking into concerning each and every member state of the euro area or of the whole union,” he said.

Rehn was speaking after the European Commission released its 2012-2014 economic forecasts showing the euro zone economy will barely grow next year, but will pick up in 2014.

He also said Spain’s finance minister had been encouraged at a meeting of G20 ministers in Mexico earlier this week to substantiate Madrid’s fiscal consolidation measures for 2014. Otherwise the Commission did not expect Spain to meet its declared deficit target of 2.8 percent of GDP, but rather hit 6.4 percent. (Rex Merrifield, Brussels newsroom)

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