Bratislava, November 25 (TASR) – Parliament has concluded a debate on the state budget for next year, with over 30 MPs taking the floor on the issue in three days.
“I can describe the debate on the law of the year as professional, but we didn’t avoid some theatrical performances this year, either. Many comments should have been addressed to specific ministers who are accountable for their chapters, instead,” said Finance Minister Peter Kazimir (Smer-SD) in his final speech on the 2017 state budget draft.
Kazimir also reacted to Opposition MPs who criticised the Government for its decision to delay a balanced budget, meaning that there should be no surplus until 2019. “In line with a preventive part of the Stability and Growth Pact and with respect to priorities that have been defined by the Government, the medium-term target has been delayed. However, this was also mentioned in the Government Manifesto, and so it shouldn’t be anything new for you,” Kazimir told the Opposition in Parliament.
Kazimir said that the Government also informed the European Commission (EC) about the part of the Stability Pact that oversees the fulfilment of fiscal targets. “Budgetary targets do also respect a required pace of consolidation in line with international rules that are binding for us with regard to our membership of the eurozone,” stated the finance minister. The pace of consolidation should reach 0.5 percent of GDP annually. “If the economy is overheated, we’ll have to go to higher nominal surpluses. If our situation worsens and the economy is undercooled, we’ll have to consolidate less,” explained Kazimir. Nevertheless, Slovakia has been observing all the international rules that are supervised by Brussels, the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Policy Institute.
“Some people are more satisfied, some less. Nevertheless, the Value for Money [project] will help to look at the expenditures in detail,” added Kazimir, stressing that the EC praised the budget as well. “We are among the best eurozone countries for the third consecutive year. Foreign investors have noticed this, as well as those investing in our government bonds,” said Kazimir, adding that the budget is prepared based on prognoses that haven’t been fabricated.
Parliament will vote on the state budget on Tuesday (November 29).