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KDU-ČSL, ANO want budget surplus to cut state debt

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Prague, April 20 (CTK) – The Czech junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) have tended to support the opinion of the ANO movement saying the 2016 state budget surplus should be used to cut the state debt, KDU-CSL MP Jaroslav Klaska told reporters after a meeting of the parties’ experts on Thursday.

The senior government Social Democrats (CSSD) want to use part of the surplus as a reserve for future pensions.

The government of the CSSD, ANO and the KDU-CSL is to definitively decide on the use of the budget surplus at its regular meeting on Monday.

The Christian Democrats previously proposed that a part of the surplus be invested in the construction of water treatment plants and road repairs.

However, since the respective projects would have to be prepared and carried out this year, the KDU-CSL admitted that this would be too complicated and might not be managed in time.

Klaska said this was exactly why the Christian Democrats supported the view of ANO and its chairman, Finance Minister Andrej Babis, eventually.

The Finance Ministry has already used the surplus to cut the state budget, he added.

“Th Finance Ministry did so by paying off the due bonds last year and it did not issue any additional bonds,” Klaska said, confirming Babis’s previous statements.

Michal Picl, member od the CSSD Central Executive Committee, is also convinced that the money for investments could not be spent in time.

“Most of the projects are not in the phase in which we could invest the means immediately,” Picl, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said.

Money from the EU funds, the use of which is not limited by a one-year framework, is more suitable for investments, he added.

At the meeting, Picl reiterated the CSSD’s opinion that the budget surplus should be transferred as a reserve to the pension account.

After hearing the stances of the other government parties, the Social Democrats will have to decide whether they will join the view of the coalition partners or keep pushing through their own proposal, Picl said.

The results of the CSSD’s internal debate on the budget surplus is to be known at the government meeting only, he added.

The chairmen of all three coalition parties, PM Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD), Babis and Pavel Belobradek (KDU-CSL), will work out the final agreement on Monday.

Most of the budget surplus will be probably used to cut the state debt, while a part may be sent to the pension account, Klaska said.

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