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EC expects Slovakia to meet stability pact criteria

THE EUROPEAN Commission (EC) yesterday presented its evaluation of EU newcomers in meeting convergence criteria, the SITA news agency reported.

The EC said that Slovakia, and its neighbour the Czech Republic, are proceeding in line with the revised recommendation of the Stability and Growth Pact, approved by European leaders at the Brussels summit last March.

Commissioner Joaquin Almunia noted, however, that Slovakia's general government budget expenses represent a mid-term risk in meeting the convergence criteria.

The report says Slovakia's indebtedness is below the 60-percent limit set by the Maastricht criteria and will remain below that level for the next two decades. Nevertheless, the EC called on Slovakia to strictly implement the planned measures for consolidation of public finances in the mid-term, to avoid the risk of not keeping the debt at this level.

The commissioner also asked Bratislava to enhance its fiscal convergence efforts and boost the ceiling limit of public expenses so that the budget respects the Maastricht criterion of a maximum deficit of 3 percent of GDP.

The EC was also pleased with the "optimistic macroeconomic indicators" in the Slovak economy.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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