News & Comments

We welcome short entries about relevant European or national developments for this News and Comments section. You are invited to use the contact form for this or to directly contact Thomas Beukers ( or Viorica Vita (

11 February: Brussels says no to further budgetary flexibility for Spain

February 12, 2016

While Spain is still struggling to form a new government after the general elections of 20 December 2015, the Spanish government has confirmed that it has not met the budgetary requirements for 2015. A request by Rajoy for further flexibility was denied in statements after the 11 February Eurogroup meeting by Commissioner Moscovici and President […]

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18 May: Commission proposes to give Spain and Portugal more time to correct deficit

May 18, 2016

In its 2016 European Semester Country Specific Recommendations on 18 May 2016, the European Commission has proposed to give both Spain and Portugal an extra year to correct its excessive deficit under the excessive deficit procedure: "As regards Portugal and Spain, the Commission recommends to the Council to recommend a durable correction of the excessive […]

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13 April: Fifth post-programme surveillance visit to Spain

April 18, 2016

A team from the European Commission, in liaison with staff from the European Central Bank (ECB), carried out the fifth post-programme surveillance visit to Spain on 11-13 April 2016. The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) participated in the meetings on aspects relating to its early warning system. The mission was limited in scope, and mainly focused […]

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3 May: Spain to hold new general elections amidst rumours of first ever SGP sanctions

May 4, 2016

After several failed attempts to form a government after the Spanish Parliamentary elections of 20 December 2015 – in which no party secured a majority – new elections will be held on Sunday 26 June 2016 following a decision by the Spanish King to dissolve Parliament. This decision comes amidst rumours that Spain might become […]

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7 July: Commission recommends Council decision establishing no effective action by Spain and Portugal

July 7, 2016

The European Commission has adopted two recommendations to the Council establishing that both Spain and Portugal have failed to take effective action in light of their respective Council recommendations of 21 June 2013. Should the Council take over the recommendation of July 7, the Commission will have to propose what consequences it should have in […]

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12 July: Council decides Spain and Portugal failed to take effective action

July 12, 2016

In an unprecedented decision of 12 July, the ECOFIN Council has decided, in line with the Commission recommendation of 7 July, that both Spain and Portugal have failed to take effective action under the excessive deficit procedure. This is the first time the Council has taken such a decision under article 126(8) TFEU, setting in motion […]

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18 July: Spain and Portugal try to avoid SGP fines

July 18, 2016

Both countries have submitted to the Commission their arguments for only imposing symbolic sanctions, after the Council had decided on12 July thar Spain and Portugal had failed to take effective action on the Council recommendations of June 2013. According to the SGP rules, both countries had a week to convince the Commission not to impose a […]

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20 July: EP wants say over possible suspension of funds

July 20, 2016

EP President Schulz told the European Commission on 20 July that his institution wants to have a say in a decision to suspend structural funds for Spain and Portugal, following the Council's decision of 12 July that both countries have failed to take effective action under the excessive deficit procedure. See the news coverage by Euractiv:

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27 July: no fines for Spain and Portugal

July 28, 2016

The European Commission, making use of discretionary powers it has under the Six Pack of economic governance legislation, recommends not to impose fines (technically: to impose fines of zero euro) on Spain and Portugal because of the fiscal efforts both countries have made (although not meeting the targets) and the social challenges they are facing. The […]

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3 October: structured dialogue between Commission and EP on suspending funds for Spain and Portugal

October 3, 2016

Following the Council decision of 12 July 2016 that both Spain and Portugal had under the excessive deficit procedure failed to take effective action in response to Council recommendations under article 126(8) TFEU, on 3 October a structured dialogue took place between the Commission and EP on one of the consequences of this decision, namely suspension […]

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8 August: no fines for Spain and Portugal and extension of excessive deficit deadline

August 8, 2016

Following up on its decision of 12 July under article 126(8) TFEU establishing that Spain and Portugal had violated the Stability and Growth Pact, the Council on 8 August has taken a decision imposing a fine on both countries which was however reduced to zero. With regard to the imposition of a fine on Spain, […]

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17 October: euro area member states present draft budgetary plans

October 17, 2016

All euro area member states – except for Greece – have presented their draft budgetary plans for 2017 in accordance with article 6(1) of Regulation (EU) No. 473/2013. The Commission now has to adopt an opinion on the draft budgetary plans as soon as possible and in any event by 30 November (article 7(1) of […]

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20 December 2015: Spanish coalition government inevitable after elections

December 20, 2015

In the Spanish general elections of 20 December 2015 Prime Minister Rajoy's Partido Popular (PP) received most votes, followed by the Socialist Party (PSOE), Podemos and Ciudadanos. The success of newcomer parties Podemos and Ciudadanos for the first time in decades makes the formation of a coalition government or minority government in Spain inevitable: neither […]

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25 October: Commission asks clarification on euro area member state budgetary plans

October 25, 2016

The European Commission has asked several euro area member states for clarification on their draft budgetary plans for 2017, relating to issues such as reassurances on the behaviour of incoming governments, clarification on demands for flexibility, compliance risks with the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). All member states apart from Greece presented their plans in accordance with article 6(1) […]

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12 October 2015: Commission invites Spain to submit a new Draft Budgetary Plan

October 13, 2015

As part of the so-called two-pack obligations, Member States of the euro area are required to submit annually to the Commission and to the Eurogroup a Draft Budgetary Plan presenting by 15 October the main aspects of the budgetary situation of the general government and its subsectors for the forthcoming year. Because of the general […]

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17 January: Commission adopts updated opinion on Spanish and Lithuanian budgets

January 17, 2017

The Commission conclused that Spain, which is currently in the corrective arm, is broadly compliant with the Stability and Growth Pact in 2017; Lithuania, which is in the preventive arm, instead is deemed at risk of non-compliance pending the assessment of requested flexibility. Read the press release here.

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Spain, Latvia and Finland present draft budgetary plans to European Commission

October 3, 2015

These three member states have presented their draft annual budgetary plans well before the deadline of 15 October set by the European governance legal framework (article 6(1) Regulation (EU) 473/2013).

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On 10 September 2014 the Spanish Constitutional Court has admitted an action of unconstitutionality for breach of local competences (conflicto en defensa de la autonomia local) brought by nearly 3000 municipalities – by Leticia Diez Sanchez (EUI)

January 16, 2015

The actions of unconstitutionality for breach of local competences can only be brought by 1,160 municipalities representing at least one-sixth of the Spanish population (about 7,8 million inhabitants), having been the first time that a sufficient number of local governments manage to lodge such an action – notably, about 850 of these 3000 municipalities are […]

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