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Spanish Unions reject EU demands for budget adjustments

Mon 14th Nov 2016
Spanish Unions reject EU demands for budget adjustments

The two largest Unions in Spain have spoken of being "firmly opposed" to measures demanded by the EU to reduce the public deficit and have called for an increase to the minimum wage.

"We firmly reject the adjustment of EU5.5 Bln demanded by the European Commission," the head of the UGT union, Pepe Alvarez, told a joint news conference with Ignacio Fernandez Toxo who heads the nation's biggest union Commissiones Obreras.

Spain had agreed with EU demands to reduce its public deficit from 5.1% of GDP in 2015 to 4.6% this year and 3.1% in 2017.

However, the draft 2017 budget which Rajoy's Partido Popular sent to Brussels last month forecasts a public deficit of 3.6% this year.

Brussels responded by demanding that Spain adopt additional measures to reduce the deficit down to 3.1%, which will require roughly EU5.5 Bln in spending cuts and tax increases.

"It is essential that Spain get at least an additional year of flexibility to adjust its public accounts," Toxo said.

That would give Spain until 2019 to bring its public deficit below the EU's limit of 3.0% of economic output. The country has already been granted another two years to bring the deficit below the limit.

The two unions also demanded that the monthly minimum wage be raised from EU764 to EU933.

Rajoy won a parliamentary confidence vote on October 29, taking power after two indecisive elections that led to 10 months of political paralysis.

But this time around he has a minority government and will need to scrabble for approval from other opposition parties further to the left to win approval in parliament for legislation.

Recommended Reading :

* Spain makes early repayment of EU1 Bln EU loan

* Eurozone Ministers expect Spain to cut deficits

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