(MENAFN - AFP) Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in remarks published Sunday it would be difficult to meet the goal of cutting the public deficit to 6.3 percent of gross domestic product this year in line with European Union demands.
"It is very complicated to reduce the deficit by 2.6 points in a context of recession, with as many problems with revenue and such high financing costs," Rajoy told La Razon newspaper.
"Spain was asked to make a very difficult effort, to go from 8.9 percent to 6.3 percent in only one year," said Rajoy, who has until now pledged to respect the deficit target.
"Our goal is to do things well and we will see what will happen at the end of the year," he said.
Spain, the fourth largest economy in the eurozone, is engaged in a deep austerity programme and is seeking to recover 150 billion euros between 2012 and 2014, through both tax increases and budget cuts.
The task is all the harder as Spain slid back into recession at the end of 2011, less than two months after re-emerging from the previous one.
Since taking power after last November's huge election victory, Rajoy has introduced a series of tough spending cuts and tax rises to lower the deficit and stabilise Spain's public finances.