Vienna, 29 March 2012 Budget deficit 2011 significantly below Maastricht threshold, at 2.6% The reasons: a sound economy and as a result substantially higher tax revenues – but Finance Minister Fekter, though delighted, adds a note of caution

Last year, Austria achieved a significantly lower budget deficit than had previously been forecast. According to the published provisional figures of Statistik Austria, the general government deficit was 2.6% of GDP, or EUR 7.8 billion. As a result, contrary to expectations, this was considerably below the Maastricht threshold of 3%. In January 2012, the Finance Ministry was still expecting a figure of 3.3%. By way of comparison, in 2010 the deficit was 4.5% of GDP, or EUR 12.9 billion.

"At first glance, 2011 ended on a very positive note. We saw exceptionally positive economic performance and as a result also higher tax revenues than we had originally forecast," declared Finance Minister Dr Maria Fekter. "It is also particularly gratifying that Austria's regional states have done better. However, though I am delighted, I would add a note of caution, for the burdens upon us as a result of KA Finanz and the Greek crisis are not yet reflected in the figures," she continued.

"2011 was exceptionally positive, but these effects will unfortunately not continue in 2012. This year, as a result of assistance to Greece and to the banks, we have quite a tough situation to deal with," warned Fekter. "Apart from the assistance to the banks, the budget is however evolving very positively. We are steadily working on reducing our deficit, saving on the expenditure side, enjoying higher revenues too as a result of the sound economy, and are on the right course towards a zero deficit," concluded Fekter confidently.