Under Eurozone rules budget deficits can be no greater than 3%.

Spain has missed every budget target for years even though Brussels has been very lenient time-wise in those targets.

Today, not only did Spain miss its 6-time revised lower targets, it fell further behind with a whopping 5.2% deficit backtrack, nearly a full percentage point over its target.

The magnitude of this miss surprised nearly everyone but me.

Please consider Spain Falls Short in Battle to Close Yawning Deficit.

Spain has veered sharply off course in its long-running effort to reduce the budget deficit, unveiling a 5.2 per cent shortfall in 2015 that is likely to raise alarm inside the European Commission and impose significant political constraints on the next Spanish government.

Cristóbal Montoro, the budget minister, said the funding gap stood at €55.8bn last year — significantly worse than predicted by either the Spanish government or the Commission. The shortfall is almost a full percentage point above the deficit target set by Brussels, which has warned repeatedly in recent months about the state of Spain’s public finances.

Crucially, the gap also makes it all but impossible for Madrid to comply with its target of reducing the shortfall to below 3 per cent of gross domestic product this year — an objective that senior Spanish officials insisted until recently was well within reach.

“Our legacy is an economy that is growing and that is once again creating jobs,” he [Montoro] told a press conference in Madrid on Thursday.

Analysts were less kind in their assessment, saying the government itself had made the deficit worse, not least by cutting taxes ahead of last year’s general election. “The government relaxed its stance because we had an election year — and the European Commission looked the other way. This was very bad fiscal policy,” said José Ignacio Conde-Ruiz, a professor of economy at the Complutense University in Madrid.

Easy to Predict

This budget result was quite easy to predict. Reader Bran who lives in Spain sent me numerous articles last year about Spain bumping up spending ahead of the election.

Since the election was in December, prime minister Mariano Rajoy had nearly a full year to persuade voters to keep him in office. He failed miserably in his vote-buying effort.

The election resulted in a deadlock with no party able to form a coalition. Spain now has no government head.

New elections are coming barring a last minute coalition miracle. The new government, when Spain gets one, has a huge budget hole to fill, and will have to cut spending, exactly what the socialists will not want to do.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock