New cabinet inherits healthy economy

THE OUTGOING cabinet of PM Mikuláš Dzurinda is handing over an economy in relatively good shape to new PM Robert Fico. GDP growth last year exceeded 6 percent, while wages continue to grow faster than prices.

Unemployment remains a serious problem, despite the fact that in March it fell below 15 percent for the first time since 1999, the SME daily wrote.

Inflation is also a concern, and in May was at 4.8 percent.

Slovakia's gross national debt was Sk524 billion at the end of March, which is around 35 percent of GDP. In 1998, when the first Dzurinda government took office, the debt was Sk272 billion. Although the current level is almost double the 1998 figure, in terms of the ratio of the debt to GDP it is similar.

"The starting position of the future prime minister is very good. He has inherited an economy that is moderately indebted and that has good prospects for growth in the next four years," said Pavol Kárász, an economic analyst with the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports

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