It’s been all the rage for Eurozone countries to proudly proclaim that they’re on target to meet their deficit reduction goals.
Well, not all countries see things quiet so rosily.
Take for example Slovakia, whre the new Finance chief has called deficit goals an “illusion”.
Say goodbye to the dream of a 5.5-per cent public finance deficit this year: that is one of the first clear public messages from Slovakia’s new finance minister, Ivan Mikloš, who has returned to the job after a four-year gap. Mikloš was in part responding to comments made last week by his predecessor, Ján Počiatek, who left office saying that the 5.5-per cent deficit target he had set is realistic provided the new government “practice what they preach”.
Mikloš’s estimate, by contrast, is much closer to what market watchers have been forecasting over the past couple of months: instead of reaching 5.5 per cent of GDP, he says, the deficit could climb as high as 7 per cent in 2010.
“The predicted [5.5-per cent] deficit is an illusion,” Mikloš, a nominee of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), said. “The Finance Ministry under the leadership of Počiatek has already published [data showing] that the shortfall in tax and payroll tax [revenue] will be €1 billion deeper than they had assumed when designing the budget with a 5.5-per cent deficit.”
Could internal concern about its own deteriorating finances explain the country’s persistent opposition to the Greek bailout? Obviously we can only speculate.