* EU Commission welcomes approval of Spanish austerity plan
* Says it is a step in the right direction
BRUSSELS, May 28 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Friday the Spanish government’s austerity plan was a step in the right direction and expressed satisfaction that it had been approved by the Spanish parliament.
Spain’s governing Socialists won approval for the 15 billion euro ($18.4 billion) austerity package by a single vote on Thursday.
“Our initial impression is that these measures go in the right direction,” Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, a spokesman for the Commission, told reporters.
Asked if the European Union’s executive was relieved the plan had been adopted by parliament, he said: “Additional efforts at budget consolidation were necessary so in that respect, yes, there is satisfaction and approval.”
The cuts are part of the Spanish government’s efforts to cut the large budget deficit and restore confidence in Spain’s ailing economy, which has barely edged out of recession after two years.
The government’s plan aims to save an additional 15 billion euros and includes wage cuts of 5 percent for civil servants this year. It aims to cut the budget deficit to 9.3 percent of gross domestic product this year and then to 6 percent in 2011, down from 11.2 percent last year.
(Reporting by Timothy Heritage, editing by Bate Felix)
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