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Tripartite starts debating 2016 state budget

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Prague, July 27 (CTK) – Trade unions consider the 2016 Czech state budget restrictive, while employes support it, but they want to know the exact welfare expenditures and investments for next years, representatives of the government, employers and unions (tripartite) told reporters after their meeting on Monday.

The tripartite started debating the 2016 state budget on Monday and the debate will continue in September.

Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) projects the deficit at 70 billion crowns next year. In the following years, the budget deficit is to decrease, to 60 billion crowns in 2017 and 50 billion in 2018.

The overall state expenditures are projected at 1,139 billion crowns and revenues at 1,069 billion crowns, according to the preliminary parameters of the draft 2016 budget.

The Czech Republic enjoys one of the highest economic growth levels in the EU and one of the lowest unemployment rates, while it has succeeded in lowering the state debt, Babis said.

The government is to approve the state budget and submit it to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, by the end of September.

The tripartite should present its final stance on the budget at its extraordinary meeting scheduled from September 17.

Both trade unionists and employers have praised the centre-left government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) for starting to debate the 2016 budget now.

“The 70-billion deficit is rational in the times of growth,” Confederation of Industry President Jaroslav Hanak said.

Chamber of Commerce head Vladimir Dlouhy, however, criticised the government saying its “proposed fiscal effort is weak” in view of the economic growth.

The health care and pension system reforms have been halted, which will have a negative impact on the future, Dlouhy added.

On the contrary, trade unionists said the deficit might be even higher.

“The budget is actually restrictive in its consequences,” Josef Stredula, chairman of the CMKOS umbrella trade union organisation, said.

Finances are available, but they cannot be invested since investments are impeded “mainly by past laws,” he added.

According to the government, unions and employers, the situation should be improved by amendments to the building and public procurement laws. The tripartite discussed their preparation Monday, and as usual, it also focused on the drawing of finances from European funds.

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