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Ireland and Portugal to publish their draft budgets for 2014

By Nicholas Hirst  -  10.10.2013 / 05:00 CET
The governments of Ireland and Portugal are expected to publish the details of their national budgets for 2014 on Tuesday (15 October), the same day that Italy will submit its budget for scrutiny by the European Commission.

Both Ireland and Portugal, as recipients of bail-outs from the EU, are subject to special measures of supervision by the lenders. The Irish government confirmed on 8 October that the draft budget for next year would contain reductions in spending amounting to €2.5 billion. In response, a spokesperson for Olli Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs and the euro, said that the draft budget appeared to provide “a sound basis for taking forward the necessary fiscal consolidation in Ireland”.

Pedro Passos Coelho, Portugal's prime minister, used a speech on 8 October to warn the Portuguese public that the improved performance of the economy would not lead the government to relax its plans for fiscal consolidation for 2014. According to Eurostat, the Portuguese economy grew by 1.1% in the second quarter of 2013 as compared to the previous quarter.

European Union legislation on economic governance requires eurozone member states to submit their budgets to the Commission for review by 15 October. Those countries that are receiving bail-outs – Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus – are exempt from this requirement, although Ireland has said it will submit its budget for review.

The Italian budget is expected to be put to the national parliament and the Commission on 15 October. Enrico Letta, Italy's prime minister, said on 6 October that reducing the tax burden on businesses and employees would be at the heart of the budget, rewarding in particular those companies that take on new employees. The budget would also cut state spending, clamp down on tax evasion and provide for further selling-off of public assets, he said.

He had earlier told the Italian parliament that the Italian government was aiming to expand the economy by 1% in 2014 and that the country would respect EU rules requiring member state deficits to be below 3% of gross domestic product.

The Spanish government announced its draft budget for 2014 in September, forecasting that the budget deficit would amount to 5.8% of gross domestic product. But while the Commission has received the central government's budget, it is still waiting for further details on regional spending plans for 2014.

France and the Netherlands have already submitted their draft budgets for 2014 to the Commission, although the Dutch parliament is still debating some aspects of its package.

© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.
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