EU deficits a ‘serious concern’

Worsening budget deficits in the UK, Spain, Ireland, Greece and Latvia pose a «serious concern» after governments across Europe spent billions to fight the economic crisis, the European Commission said yesterday. «The possible continuing effects of the crisis on the budgetary position and on medium-term growth are a serious concern,» the Commission said in a report. The UK and the other four nations are among a score of EU members projected to breach the bloc’s deficit ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product this year and next, the Commission estimates. Ireland’s budget deficit is forecast to be the highest in the EU next year at more than 15 percent of GDP, while the UK is projected to have the second-biggest at 13.8 percent, according to the Commission. Greece’s budget deficit, which the European Commission predicted in June will be above 5 percent of GDP, is now seen as widening to around 10 to 12 percent by the end of the year, according to Greek Finance Ministry officials.