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Parliament passes 'debt brake' bill to second reading

The Slovak Parliament voted on Thursday, December 1, to send a constitutional bill on budgetary responsibility, also known as the 'debt brake', to its second reading.

The Slovak Parliament voted on Thursday, December 1, to send a constitutional bill on budgetary responsibility, also known as the 'debt brake', to its second reading.

Out of 147 MPs present in the 150-member parliament, 146 supported the draft, while one refrained from voting, the SITA newswire wrote. For the bill to be passed, it will require a constitutional majority of three-fifths of all deputies, i.e. 90 votes. Despite the use of a fast-tracked procedure the bill still has the backing of all parliamentary parties.

An MP for the governing Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Ondrej Matej, said he was glad that all the other political parties were responsible enough to support the bill. However, some MPs say it is too soft. In particular, they criticised the debt brake limit, which will be set at 60 percent of GDP and later gradually reduced to 50 percent of GDP. When discussing the bill in cabinet, the Finance Ministry said the reason for the fast-track legislative procedure was the fact that the current economic situation calls for immediate moves to alleviate the effects of the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the salaries of deputies, cabinet members and the president will not increase next year after MPs authorised a freeze on Thursday, with 146 of them voting in favour. In addition, the salaries of the chairman and deputy chairmen of the Supreme Audit Office, the general prosecutor, the ombudsman, the heads of central bodies of the state administration, and state employees in public offices will be frozen.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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