World Economy

Slovakia Deficit Above Target

Slovakia Deficit Above TargetSlovakia Deficit Above Target

Slovakia’s Finance Minister Peter Kazimir was reportedly surprised when the European Union’s statistical service Eurostat revealed the country’s public finance deficit for 2015 was actually well above target and much higher than figures presented by the government.

As reported by The Slovak Spectator, the public finance deficit last year was at 2.97% of GDP, Eurostat reported in its regular spring notification on April 21. In doing so, it refused to acknowledge some of the payments that the government had booked as revenue. Kazimir said he was surprised, adding that in the past such operations were never questioned by Eurostat, NewEurope reported.

“Such surprises from the side of Eurostat at the very last moment are not fair and we will insist on more discussions about this topic,” he said. Slovakia entered notification proceedings with a deficit of 2.56%.

Despite consultation, Eurostat did not acknowledge as revenue repayments of more than €117 million ($134 million) in financial aid from rail firm ZSSK Cargo, or payments from the State Fund for Development of Housing of almost €200 million.

Analysts see Slovakia’s fiscal deficit of 2.97% of GDP as a failure to meet the 2.49% targeted in the state budget.

Compared with 2014, Slovakia’s fiscal deficit increased and if Greece, which continues to struggle with its major financial problems, is omitted, Slovakia is the only member of the EU whose deficit increased year on year.

Slovakia entered the notification negotiations with a deficit of 2.56%, including corrections of 0.3% of GDP related to drawing of EU funds on which the finance ministry did not have any influence, finance ministry spokeswoman Alexandra Gogova told The Slovak Spectator.