The Slovak government will respect the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact by keeping the public finance deficit below the 3 percent threshold set by the Maastricht criterion, said Finance Minister Ján Počiatek after an Economic Crisis Council session on February 16, as reported by the TASR newswire.
Počiatek said that even a deficit of 3 percent of GDP would be disturbing, although he didn’t rule out the possibility that Slovakia could exceed this level.
The estimate for Slovakia’s public finance deficit in the 2009 state budget was 2.08 percent, but this was calculated with an expectation of 4.6 percent GDP growth in 2009. The current Finance Ministry's GDP forecast is for growth of only about 2.4 percent this year.
“Rather intense discussions are currently being held at the international level about how the situation concerning the Growth and Stability Pact will look. I definitely agree that it should be respected, as it is the basis on which the monetary union works. But if there is a new development in the situation or new needs arise, everything is open,” Počiatek stated.
Prime Minister Robert Fico repeated on the same day that the public finance deficit was now expected to reach around 3 percent, but added that it was necessary to maintain fiscal discipline.
“We don't want to allow the deficit to go too far, and we can’t at all imagine that the deficit would be 9 or 11 percent, as some countries are speculating. We have to keep public finances under control,” he stressed. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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