Eurozone-member Slovakia expects budget surplus in 2019


Slovakia said Tuesday it expects to run a budget surplus of 0.16 percent of national output in 2019, at a time when few eurozone members can boast such results.

“Slovakia is doing very well economically,” leftist Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told reporters.

He attributed the eastern European country’s success to “fiscal consolidation on the one hand and support of economic growth on the other”.

Only three of the 19 eurozone members — Luxembourg, Germany and Estonia — posted a budget surplus last year.

Portugal and Spain meanwhile have run such high deficits for years that the European Commission considered slapping fines on them, but ultimately abandoned the idea earlier this month.

The finance ministry of Slovakia, whose economy is dependent on car production and exports, included the 2019 surplus forecast in a draft budget published Tuesday.

Bratislava expects diminishing budget deficits of 2.07 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, 1.29 percent in 2017 and 0.44 percent in 2018.

The government is also counting on accelerating economic growth, from 3.2 percent this year to 3.7 percent in 2017, 4.1 percent in 2018 and 4.6 percent in 2019.

“Economic growth in Slovakia is triggered by domestic consumption. People are spending more,” Fico said.

He added that the country remains attractive to foreign investors, citing for example Indian-owned car maker Jaguar Land Rover, which will begin building a factory in Slovakia in September.

Finance Minister Peter Kazimir added at the joint press conference that in terms of economic growth, Slovakia is among the “good performers in the euro area”.