Slovakia welcomes an initiative by French President Francois Hollande aimed at combating tax evasion and tax havens, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said after meeting Hollande in Paris on Thursday, April 11.
"Slovakia will be active in terms of these topics not only on the national level, but also wants to be a part of all reasonable international initiatives of this kind," Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
President Hollande is currently embroiled in a scandal over tax havens which has led to the departure of his budget minister – who recently admitted to having a secret Swiss bank account, something he had long denied – and reports that the treasurer of his own presidential campaign last year had a secret account in a tax haven.
Fico and Hollande said that they shared a common view as concerns the consolidation of public finances, claiming that austerity measures must not be applied at the expense of economic growth and the creation of new jobs. Both leaders are facing severe problems meeting a eurozone target to get their respective budget deficits below 3 percent. The French government has effectively admitted that it will not meet the target this year; Fico remains publicly committed to Slovakia's 3-percent target for 2013, despite the country's sagging growth.
"Consolidation can't be directed only toward figures. It must go hand in hand with such measures that would guarantee sustainable economic growth and falling unemployment," Fico said. In addition, Hollande, who was hosting Fico in Paris for the second time in a year, accepted an invitation to pay a visit to Slovakia in the latter half of this year.
During his one-day official visit to France, Fico met his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault and delivered a speech at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) headquarters in Paris. Fico asked OECD secretary general José Ángel Gurría for help in urging the European Commission to be more flexible vis-a-vis the use of EU funds within the current programming period of 2007-13, TASR wrote. Gurría is a Mexican economist and diplomat who heads an organisation that includes many non-European members. He has no official role in European policy making.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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12. Apr 2013 at 10:00