(Corrects to make clear Austria will be the second country, not the first, to be fined for misrepresenting data)
BRUSSELS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The European Commission proposed on Wednesday fining Austria 29.8 million euros ($31.3 million) for misrepresenting data provided by its region of Salzburg in 2008-2012 in what would be the second such financial penalty for an EU member.
The Commission has had the power to verify data submitted to the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat since 2011 and can fine countries which misreport figures.
In 2015, the Commission recommended fining Spain 18.93 million euros for manipulating statistics in the Autonomous Community of Valencia.
“The Commission has... adopted a proposal for a Council implementing decision today for Austria to pay a fine of 29.8 million euros for the misrepresentation of some government debt data,” the Commission said in a statement.
“Following an investigation and exchanges with the Austrian authorities, the Commission has found that serious negligence of government entities of Land Salzburg led to the misrepresentation in the statistical notifications of 2012 and 2013 of Austria’s deficit and debt data for 2008-2012 to Eurostat,” it said. ($1 = 0.9519 euros) (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)