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Fico discusses fiscal consolidation with EC president in Brussels

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, in Brussels for an official visit on Tuesday, April 24, tried to convince European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that there must be different attitudes to consolidation of public funds in individual countries. Consolidation of public funds in Slovakia, one of the EU’s poorest countries, also has a moral aspect, Fico claimed.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, in Brussels for an official visit on Tuesday, April 24, tried to convince European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that there must be different attitudes to consolidation of public funds in individual countries. Consolidation of public funds in Slovakia, one of the EU’s poorest countries, also has a moral aspect, Fico claimed.

"At a working dinner, we very clearly told EC President Barroso and Commissioner [Olli] Rehn [EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs] that for us consolidation of public funds has a moral aspect, too," Fico stated after the negotiations, as quoted by the SITA newswire. "On behalf of the Slovak government, I clearly defined our stance: that we cannot focus solely on cutbacks, but that we care very much about the programme of support for economic growth and formation of new jobs," he added.

Barroso said he is sure that the Slovak government will actively participate in efforts to overcome the current economic crisis. The Slovak prime minister stressed in Brussels that he rejects an increase in the VAT rate. At his meetings with Barroso, as well as with President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and EC Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, Fico stressed that his government is strongly pro-European. "I find it right to inform the EU and NATO at the beginning of our election term that we will honour our commitments and want to be a constructive member state," he concluded.

The Sme daily wrote that this was Fico’s second foreign trip, following a visit to the Czech Republic.

Sources: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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