BUSINESS BRIEFS

Cabinet agrees to increase 2005 deficit

THE RULING parties agreed to increase next year's public finance deficit to as much as 3.4 percent of GDP, compared to the 3.2 percent planned by the Finance Ministry in its outline for the 2004 budget, the news wire TASR wrote.

However, no party cast a doubt on the plan to push the 2006 deficit below 3 percent of the GDP, essential for the adoption of the euro, Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš told the press.

The rationale for increasing next year's deficit to 3.4 percent, excluding expenses for the pension reform, was based on the demands of several parties to increase expenditures in areas such as regional education and universities, the interior sector, the environment, agriculture, and state incentives to attract investors.

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