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Government approves budget

THE SLOVAK government has approved the state budget for 2007 with a planned public finance deficit of 2.9 percent of GDP. The country thus remains on track towards the introduction of the euro in 2009.

In order to fulfill the deficit target, however, the government of Robert Fico had to abandon some of its pre-election promises for next year. It plans on shutting down hospitals and schools while around one fifth of all employees in state administration will likely lose their jobs, the Pravda daily wrote.

The planned budget income is Sk308.064 billion and expenditures total Sk346.9 billion.

According to PM Fico, the government has "prepared a budget that on the one hand is oriented towards the people and respects the government's program manifesto, but which also secures the confidence of financial circles and maintains the stability of the Slovak crown".

The approved budget is "good" according to Ivan Šramko, the governor of Slovakia's central bank, because it respects the rules of the EU's stability and growth pact and contains no hidden risks.

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