The European Union Thursday evening welcomed what it called a \"comprehensive reform plan\" announced today by the Spanish authorities and said it is a major step to broaden and deepen structural reforms. \"Spain is facing important challenges to correct very sizable macroeconomic imbalances which require a comprehensive policy response. The measures announced today are a further important step towards addressing these challenges,\" said EU Commissioner for economic affairs Olli Rehn in a statement. Earlier today Spain announced its austerity budget for 2013, with new spending cuts. Spain\'s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the government would pass 43 new laws to reform the economy over the next six months.