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IN SHORT

EC expects Slovakia to meet euro-adoption criteria

THE EUROPEAN Commission (EC) presented a progress report on the attempts of EU newcomers to meet the criteria for adopting the euro, claiming that Slovakia and its neighbour, the Czech Republic, look like they will meet the new criteria 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 euro criteria, the SITA news agency reported.

The report says Slovakia's indebtedness is below the 60-percent of GDP limit set by the Maastricht criteria and will remain below that level for the next two decades. Nevertheless, the EC called on Slovakia to work hard to consolidate public finances in the medium term, to avoid the risk of debt expansion.

The EC said it was generally pleased with the "optimistic macroeconomic performance" of the Slovak economy.

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