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Löger: "For the first time since our EU accession, we can report a slight budget surplus to Brussels" Budgetary development more positive than expected

"Year after year, Austria has only reported negative statistics and deficits to Brussels, but this will not be so for 2019. Our budget is evolving very positively, and indeed better than I anticipated in my budget speech back in April," affirms Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger ahead of communicating Austria's budget performance to Brussels. "We have been able to record a slight surplus and, over an international comparison, this therefore puts us in the company of countries such as Germany," adds Löger.

Each year by 15 October, an annual report on budgetary performance, the so-called "Draft Budgetary Plan", has to be submitted to the EU Commission in Brussels. This is, so to speak, a disclosure to the budget watchdogs in Brussels of the budgetary statistics and developments of all EU Member States.

For the coming year, Austria anticipates a general government Maastricht balance in surplus to the tune of 0.1% of GDP. By comparison, the forecast in the spring was still of a balanced general government budget. In relation to GDP, the debt ratio has fallen from 78.3% in 2017, to 74.2% for 2018 and 70.5% for 2019. These figures are contained in the updated budgetary plan which Austria will now be forwarding to the European Commission next week.

The improvement on the spring figures is due to the effect of cost-saving measures in the system, as well as the underlying positive mood in the country. "Investment activity is on the increase and the positive economic climate is also contributing to falling unemployment. Government measures are taking effect and are already showing an initial impact on the government budget," stresses Austria's Finance Minister. "This gratifying development does not however give grounds for wavering in our budget discipline. Higher tax revenues should not be allowed to lead to higher expenditure. For the first time, we rank among the States of the European Union which are not financing their expenditure at the cost of the next generation. And so we will continue to spend less than we receive," concluded Minister Löger.