The European Commission has confirmed it sent inspectors to Spain this week to evaluate its budget deficit figures for last year.
That after the numbers came in substantially higher than expected at 8.5 percent of GDP, far above expectations for a figure around 6.0 percent.
The size of the deficit has to be confirmed before discussions can start on whether Madrid will be given more flexibility in its targets.
The government also said it would not meet its target for this year of 4.4 percent, saying the deficit would be 5.8 percent.
“Technicians of the European Commission have been in Madrid this week to collect information on the (2011) public accounts,” said Amadeu Altafaj, the Commission’s spokesman on economic and monetary affairs.
“It is a normal practice in all countries under an excessive deficit procedure.”