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Vienna, 24.04.2018 Löger: "The beginning of a new future and the end of debt policy"

Double Budget 2018/2019 approved by Austrian Parliament

Vienna (OTS) - "We have stepped up in order to change the country. With this end in mind, from day one, this government has been working hard. For 2018 and 2019, we will achieve a general government structural deficit of 0.5% of GDP each year, and will steadily reduce our debt ratio down towards 60%. For 2019, we are aiming for a surplus of EUR 541 million. For the first time since 1954, in 2019, the Austrian federal government will therefore be spending less than it receives in revenues. This marks the beginning of a new budget-policy era," explained Löger. 

"Over the next two years, we will succeed in perceptibly easing the burden on Austrian taxpayers. We need neither new taxes nor increased taxes in order to finance measures such as the Family Bonus. Through savings in the system, the Austrian state will save EUR 2.5 billion internally in order to invest not only in families, but also in other future-oriented areas such as education, science and security. Likewise, we will thus also steadily approach our target of reducing the tax burden down to 40%," added the Austrian Finance Minister. 

"I wish to thank our coalition partners, the members of the Austrian National Assembly and all staff at the Ministry of Finance. Together, we have drafted and today approved a budget for the next two years. The result is impressive. We are putting an end to debt policy and embarking on a new future," affirmed Finance Minister Hartwig Löger, following approval of the 2018/2019 Double Budget by the Austrian National Assembly. 

A common-sense budget

In education, between 2017 and 2022, the budget will increase by almost 10%. This means that, by 2022, over EUR 800 million more will be spent on education, with the education budget growing to around EUR 9.5 billion.

The government is also sending a clear message in the area of science and research: from 2017 to 2022, spending on science and research will grow by 13.2%, i.e. by just under EUR 600 million over the coming years, reaching almost EUR 5 billion in 2022.

Expenditure on internal security will increase to EUR 2.9 billion by 2022, with EUR 700 million allocated in the years 2018 to 2023 for police training and increasing police numbers, as well as EUR 250 million for measures to combat terrorism in 2018 and 2019 alone.

"There will be none of the 'austerity measures' attributed to us in relation to employment. We shall continue to invest more than 10% of our annual budget in employment. For 2018, this means approximately EUR 8.32 billion," added Löger. "Here, there is a need for us to make adjustments of scale, to take advantage of positive economic performance and invest heavily in the areas of qualifications and further education," explained Löger.

The fact that, in 2018 too, one euro in four will be spent on pensions, shows that this cost dynamic can only be changed with structural measures: "Thus, we are taking a first step and raising the commencement age for part-time pre-retirement work by two years." These necessary changes are being implemented on the one hand with the younger generation in mind, while on the other hand, they safeguard the rights of those already retired or about to retire. "Here, our common endeavour is a question of respect for human beings." In 2018, EUR 9.6 billion will be spent on pension-fund subsidies, while civil-service pensions will receive an allocation of EUR 9.2 billion.

"This budget signals a clear commitment to ending Austria's debt policy. Together, we have recognized that things cannot go on like this and, as a result, despite tough debates, we have adopted this budget. For the next two years, we will be working within a secure budgetary framework and will govern our country as effectively as possible for the benefit of the Austrian people," concluded Löger.