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Fico praises deal over EU budget

The negotiations of leaders of the European Union’s member states on the draft budget for 2014-2020 were difficult, but very successful for Slovakia, said Prime Minister Robert Fico after the discussion.

The negotiations of leaders of the European Union’s member states on the draft budget for 2014-2020 were difficult, but very successful for Slovakia, said Prime Minister Robert Fico after the discussion.

“Slovakia will make payments to the tune of €7 billion to the EU budget between 2014 and 2020, but our income over the period will top €20 billion in current prices,” Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “That equals a positive balance of €13 billion for Slovakia. It is a massive difference, and it's clear that it was worth standing up and fighting for these figures.”

The priorities included preserving the funding earmarked for cohesion policy, which constitutes a major source of income for Slovakia from the EU budget. Slovakia will receive €13.1 billion in this kind of funding over the next seven years, while currently the figure stands at €11.9 billion.

According to Fico, the EU budget needs to be viewed as an important investment tool that may be helpful in addressing the difficult economic times in Slovakia.

“Against the backdrop of consolidation of national budgets, it is one of the few tools that are available to member countries towards fuelling economic growth and employment,” he added, as quoted by TASR.

The EU leaders agreed on a spending ceiling of approximately €960 billion. The seven-year budget constitutes a decrease of around 3 percent of the previous budget and is the first ever cut in the EU’s spending. Among the achievements of the budget was that payments for the farmers from ‘new’ EU member states will be put on a slightly more equal level with those of western EU members, TASR reported.

When it comes to Slovakia, it seems that there will be no major changes in the sphere of the cohesion policies and direct payments for the farmers. Additional cuts were approved by the leaders, especially in the sphere of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF - cross-border transport, digital and energy networks). These will concern Slovakia in the form of reduced subsidies in the area of science and research.

Part of the contributions for Slovakia will also be pruned when it comes to rural development, but the situation vis-à-vis direct payments for farmers will improve.

Moreover, Slovakia has also retained the promised boost for decommissioning its Jaslovské Bohunice power plant to €200 million from the original €105 million, TASR wrote.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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