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New FinMin vows euro adoption, fiscal discipline


ALTHOUGH Slovakia's new finance minister, Ján Počiatek, says that adoption of the euro in Slovakia in 2009 is his personal goal, international market watchers now have doubts about the 2009 date.

ALTHOUGH Slovakia's new finance minister, Ján Počiatek, says that adoption of the euro in Slovakia in 2009 is his personal goal, international market watchers now have doubts about the 2009 date.

Adopting the euro in 2009 was one of the main ambitions of Počiatek's predecessor, Ivan Mikloš, and the government of Mikuláš Dzurinda.

But the Standard & Poor's rating agency now says that while it had Slovakia pegged for adopting the euro 2009, this date may be too optimistic given the nature of Slovakia's current leftist government.

The rating agency also said that developments following June 17 elections in Slovakia raised some risks that the government might roll back the economic reforms launched by the outgoing Dzurinda government, which could hurt Slovakia's credit rating, daily SME wrote.

Slovakia currently has an A rating with a stable outlook, which is the highest credit rating among the countries of Central Europe.

According to Standard & Poor's, Slovakia's rating could drop if the government loosens fiscal policy or cancels important reforms.

However, Počiatek said that financing for the social programmes that his socialist Smer party backs will only be possible after Slovakia meets the macroeconomic "Maastricht" criteria for the introduction of the common EU currency.

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