Dec 2, 10:31 AM EST

Spain raises taxes to try to meet EU deficit target

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MADRID (AP) -- Spain's conservative government says it hopes to bring in an extra 7.5 billion euros ($8 billion) in taxes to help bring down its budget deficit next year to close to the 3 percent level permitted by the European Union.

Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said Friday the government hopes to get most of the money - 4.3 billion euros - from increased company taxes and the rest from anti-tax fraud measures and taxes on alcohol, tobacco and sugary drinks.

Spain is battling to reduce its deficit from an expected 4.6 percent of GDP this year to an EU-agreed 3.1 percent in 2017 to avoid sanctions.

Spain's deficit soared to an 11.2 percent high in 2009 during its economic crisis. Its economy is now one of the fastest growing in the EU.

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