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IN SHORT BUSINESS

Slovakia may get Sk24.5 billion from EU

SLOVAKIA will pay roughly Sk15.5 billion (€388 million) to the EU budget and may get almost Sk40 billion (€1 billion) if EU funds are fully used, resulting in a surplus of Sk24.5 billion (€600 million).

Vladimír Tvaroška, state secretary of Slovakia's Finance Ministry, told the news agency TASR the figures after EU finance ministers met to discuss the 2005 EU budget in Brussels on July 16.

In its first reading, the EU Council of Ministers approved the first budget proposal, cutting expenditures by €4.35 billion to €105.22 billion (0.99 percent of the union's GDP) from €109.57 billion (1.03 percent of theopean Commission (EC).

"If the implementation of our projects proceeds as expected, Slovakia may get almost Sk40 billion from the EU budget," Tvaroška said. The EC agreed to the reduction of spending on agriculture but not on structural and external projects or administration.

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