Thursday, February 14, 2008

"No danger" of Romania exceeding EU's deficit ceiling-PM

BUCHAREST, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Romania will not exceed the European Union's budget deficit ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product this year, Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said on Wednesday.

European Union finance ministers on Tuesday scolded Romania, which joined the wealthy bloc in 2007, for allowing its budget gap to increase despite fast economic growth.

"There is no danger that Romania exceeds the budget deficit level set under the Maastricht treaty," Tariceanu said in a statement.

Romania had a deficit of 2.9 percent of gross domestic product last year -- under Brussels calculation -- and wants to lower it in 2008, an election year, but the Commission and credit rating agencies are sceptical about the declaration.

The Commission sees the deficit growing to 3.2 percent this year and 3.9 percent in 2009.
If the risk materialises, the EU may launch its excessive deficit procedure against Romania, meant to force EU member states to keep the shortfall below three percent of GDP. (Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Ron Askew)

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