Parliament convened on November 3 to reopen the debate on the draft state budget for next year. The discussion started at the end of last week when Finance Minister Ján Počiatek introduced the draft budget to parliamentary deputies, the SITA newswire reported.
In the draft, the government expects budget revenues of €12.531 billion and expenses of €16.277 billion. Compared with the budget for this year, budget expenses in 2010, which is an election year, would increase by over 15 percent.
The budget deficit in 2010 is planned to reach €3.746 billion. Prime Minister Robert Fico said that almost half of the year-on-year growth of expenses is in drawing of EU funds. The cabinet is planning to draw €3.5 billion from the EU in 2010.
Priorities in the budget are healthcare, education, and social affairs. The biggest spending cuts next year would concern the ministries of defence, foreign affairs, culture, and interior. These ministries should reduce their expenses by about €750 million. The cabinet adopted the draft budget a month ago. While the governing coalition describes the budget as “thrifty and
cost-saving” the opposition has sharply criticized it and has said it would not vote for the cabinet-approved budget draft.
Compiled by Michaela Stanková from press reports
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