IN VIEW of planned budget deficits of more than 3 percent in 2009 in many EU countries, the European Commission has adopted reports for Slovakia and nine other countries under the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. The reports examine whether the deficits planned for 2009 are close to the reference value of 3 percent and whether the higher deficits are exceptional and temporary.
“We need to continue supporting the economy until the recovery takes hold, in line with the European Economic Recovery Plan,” said Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquín Almunia. “But now is also the moment to design coordinated exit strategies so that, when the moment is right, we can begin to roll back the soaring debt levels.”
Earlier this year, the commission had initiated excessive deficit procedures for nine other EU countries which had gone over the reference value in 2008. Before the crisis hit in the autumn of 2008, only Hungary and the United Kingdom had been subject to the excessive deficit procedure (EDP).
In all of the current cases the European Commission concluded that although the deficit levels are exceptional in nature, resulting primarily from a severe economic downturn or recession of an unforeseeable scale, they are neither close to the reference value nor temporary.
The next step – the recommendations on the deadlines for the correction – will take into account the countries’ figures for October.