Vienna, 06 December 2011 Fekter: "Triple-A not in immediate danger"

On 6 December 2011, the Austrian federal government once again called upon the opposition parties to consent to a Constitutional Act concerning the debt brake, despite their initial reluctance. In particular in view of the threatened downgrading of the Eurozone by rating agency Standard & Poor's, Fekter stressed that this was an important objective.

Despite current developments, Finance Minister Dr Maria Fekter is optimistic, and made it clear that she does not at present expect to see any downgrading. "We have a solid foundation on which to build." In formal terms, neither was the outlook yet negative at present: "The entire Eurozone is at present under observation. The announcement by Standard & Poor's does not mean that downgrading is inevitable," she stressed, adding moreover that she considered it extremely positive that the interest-rate spread between Austrian and German government bonds had recently been at its lowest level in many months. Furthermore, the rating agency's warning did not refer just to Austria, but to all euro states. "Yet all the same, we must take the rating agency's announcement seriously," Fekter declared.

Precisely in order to secure our solid credit standing, elevating the debt brake to the status of constitutional law would be an important move. "This would enable us to send a strong signal within Europe in the fight against the growing debt mountain," declared Fekter with conviction, adding that for this reason, the aim would be to seek further discussions with the opposition if, this week, the Austrian National Assembly adopts only an ordinary law. "The path embarked upon by the government is the right one. For only this way can our country be led out of the crisis and emerge stronger as a result," concluded Fekter.