The Council of Ministers of Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Union has decided to close Spain's excessive deficit procedure today, leaving Europe without any country under the punitive purview of the Stability and Growth Pact.
Unsurprisingly, the Council of Ministers of Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Union (Ecofin) thus ratified the recommendation issued last week by the European Commission, which called for the closure of the procedure after the Spanish public deficit fell back in 2018 of the 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
EU finance ministers note in a statement today that "Spain's public administration deficit has shrunk to 2.5% of GDP in 2018 from 3.1% of GDP in 2017," and forecasts economic indicators presented by the Commission "indicate a deficit of 2.3% of GDP in 2019 and 2.0% of GDP in 2020, ie below the EU reference value of 3% of GDP over the period covered by the forecasts ".
Spain, which has been under excessive deficit procedure since 2009, will come under the 'preventive arm' of the Stability and Growth Pact over the next year and should strive to converge with its medium-term budgetary objective at a pace appropriate, respecting the reference value of the expenditure and complying with the debt criterion.
Europe is finally left without any country under way, after at the height of the economic and financial crisis in 2011 no fewer than 24 Member States have come under the purview of the punitive aspect of the Pact, but the picture may change soon as the procedure for the opening of an excessive deficit procedure for Italy, due to its high public debt, is under way.
Portugal, which had an excessive deficit procedure opened in 2009, came out of it two years ago, precisely at the June (2017) meeting in Luxembourg of the Ecofin Council.