Spain's 2014 budget deficit below that set by EU

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MADRID (AP) — Spain says its budget deficit in 2014 ended up slightly above its target but below that sought by the European Union.

Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said Friday the country's deficit amounted to 5.7 percent of Spain's GDP. That was higher than the government's 5.5 percent target due to a one-off health tax compensation payment. However, the deficit was below the 5.8 percent target set by Brussels.

Spain's deficit was as high as 9 percent in 2011 at the height of the economic crisis. Spain has pledged to get it down to 2.8 percent in 2016 — below the 3 percent rule for countries that use the euro.

Spain emerged from a double-dip recession last year. On Thursday, the Bank of Spain forecast Spanish economic growth of 2.8 percent this year.