January 17, 2017 / 4:19 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Spain 2017 budget in line with EU targets, no measures needed- Commission

(adds Commission Vice President quotes, Lithuania fiscal position)

By Francesco Guarascio

STRASBOURG, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Tuesday Spain’s budget for this year is “broadly” in line with EU targets and no additional fiscal measures are required - a new, positive sign for the country’s expanding economy.

The EU’s executive commission is responsible for assessing euro zone countries’ budgets and can require additional fiscal measures if public expenses go beyond limits set by EU rules.

Brussels found that Spain’s “fiscal effort is met in 2017,” a Commission official said. This means the country does not have to adopt additional spending cuts or taxes.

“We do not call for measures now, but we ask the government to stand ready to take additional measures should heightened risks materialise,” an EU official said.

The Commission delivered its opinions on the 19 countries of the euro currency zone in November, but waited for a final decision on Spain’s budget because Madrid had not yet presented a budget as it had no government then.

“Spain has recorded good economic performance and we invite the Spanish authorities to continue to correct their excessive budget deficit and implement key structural reforms,” the Commission vice president, Valids Dombrovskis, added.

Separately the EU executive also assessed Lithuania’s 2017 budget and found it “at risk of non-compliance” with EU targets.

However Dombrovskis stressed the Baltic country’s deficit and debt “are well below the required targets of 3 percent and 60 percent of gross domestic product respectively”. The budget may therefore be considered in line with EU rules if the country is found eligible for some fiscal leeway - a decision that Brussels will take this spring. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Gabriela Baczynska and Mark Heinrich)

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