Eduard Heger says 2023 state budget will be approved in time

The Slovak parliament will vote on the 2023 budget this week. This will allow the government to assist people affected by rising energy prices, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on Tuesday (20 December).

After Heger’s minor centre-right government lost a vote of no confidence in parliament last Thursday (15 December), it seemed unlikely that the budget would be approved in time. His cabinet was acting as a caretaker government in the euro zone country.

Heger stated that after hours of negotiations, he was happy to announce that a deal has been reached on the budget approval.

He said: “Everybody had made some compromise,” and added that the agreement stipulates that four of the original ruling parties will vote in support of the budget during a Thursday morning vote.

Heger stated that the budget will have a deficit of 6.4% of gross domestic products and include taxes on Russian crude oil, gas transportation, spirits, gambling, and alcohol.

Additionally, the parties agreed to transfer additional funds from the budget’s reserves into healthcare.

Heger and Richard Sulik (ex-Economy Minister) presented the deal. Sulik’s SaS party split from the coalition in September and helped the opposition to overthrow the government last week.

Sulik and Heger said that the agreement was only related to the budget. Sulik stated that there are no discussions at the moment about solutions to the political crisis. Heger, however, declined to comment on the current state of negotiations.

The budget deal will see Igor Matovic, the Finance Minister and Heger’s OLANO Party chief, resign. Sulik’s clashes against Sulik resulted in Sulik’s resignation from the government.

President Zuzana Caputova requested that all parties reach a deal before the end of January. After she has dismissed the previous government, she can appoint another government at any moment.

Although some parties call for early elections in advance of the regular vote due in 2024, three-fifths (or more) of the lawmakers have not yet backed such a plan.