• Economy chief says EU nations, including Germany, against fine
  • Spain missed 2015 deficit goal by almost 1 percentage point

Acting Economy Minister Luis de Guindos predicted Spain will avoid a fine from the European Commission despite missing its budget-deficit goal by almost one percentage point last year.

Speaking to reporters in Madrid, de Guindos said he has been in touch with “various” European governments -- including Germany -- and none of them are in favor of sanctioning Spain. The Spanish government posted a shortfall of 5.1 percent of output in 2015 compared with an EU-set target of 4.2 percent, leaving the nation liable for a fine under European budget rules.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said France would be“indulgent” toward Spain in an interview with El Pais newspaper published Monday. According to Sapin, euro-area finance ministers and the commission would also be “benevolent.”

De Guindos defended his People’s Party plan to lower taxes once again if Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy can hang onto power after the June 26 ballot. Opinion polls suggest Rajoy risks losing further seats with anti-austerity group Podemos overtaking the Socialists to claim second place.

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