Mikloš: Fulfilment of Maastricht criteria important for economic growth

SPEAKING at the Euromoney Central and Eastern European Forum in Vienna on January 17, Slovak Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš said the fulfilment of the Maastricht Treaty criteria is important not only for entry into the eurozone, but also for providing healthy and long-term economic growth supported by structural reforms, the TASR news agency wrote.

Mikloš also presented Slovakia's experiences following its recent entry to the eurozone exchange-rate mechanism, ERM-2. "Entry to the ERM-2 mechanism has set narrower limits for Slovakia's fiscal and monetary policy," said Mikloš, who added that the central bank of Slovakia (NBS) has predicted that economic growth in Slovakia could increase by one percent thanks to the country's membership of the eurozone.

Membership of this zone will be a main factor in the creation of more stable conditions for the economy and business.

According to Mikloš, monetary policy is the most important economic factor. This is because Slovakia is an open economy, and each unexpected fluctuation in the Slovak currency would mean unpredictable changes for exporters and importers.

Mikloš said that he isn't afraid that wages may overtake labour productivity and push up inflation. "Trends in the last 15 years have shown that this has happened only occasionally. I don't expect faster wage increases than labour productivity in the future," added Mikloš.

Mikloš spoke about continuing reforms after this year's general election, claiming that not all opposition parties are against the current government's reforms. According to the latest opinion-poll results, most Slovak citizens agree that they should be continued, Mikloš added.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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