BRUSSELS Ė The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on Wednesday against an appeal presented by Spain on a fine that had been imposed for manipulating a regionís deficit data.
The European Council had in 2015 imposed an 18.93-million-euro ($22.4-million) fine on the country for not recording the region of Valenciaís health expenses or accounting transactions.
According to an investigation carried out by the European Commission, the deficit data manipulation had been occurring in Valencia since 1988, but the inquiry that led to the fine covered only 2011 and 2012, as until then, the Commission did not have the necessary powers to carry out that kind of financial inspection.
Spain had argued in its appeal that its right to defense and to good administration had been violated, no offense had been committed and the sanction was disproportionate.
The Court rejected Spainís claim that its right to defense had been violated as, in its investigation, the Commission had used data obtained by Eurostat during visits to the country before the inquiry had been launched, meaning the decision to fine the state could legally be based on that information.
It also considered that the Council did have grounds to declare that there had been an infraction of the budget supervision rules that allow states to be sanctioned for their deficit and debt data.
The Luxembourg-based Court ruled on Wednesday that Spain would not only have to pay the full fine, but also the costs of the trial.
The Spanish Supreme Court said Valencia would have to pay the sanction.