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Latvia's indicators among the best

  • 2001-04-26
  • BNS
RIGA - Latvia's economic development and financial indicators are solid when compared to the rest of the European Union candidate countries, Latvian Finance Minister Gundars Berzins said April 23.

Berzins' remark came upon his return from a meeting of finance ministers from the EU in Copenhagen and a meeting of finance ministers of EU member and candidate countries in Malmo, Sweden.

With gross domestic product growth at 6.6 percent, Latvia last year was the leader among the EU candidate countries. Estonia last year had GDP growth of 6.4 percent, Hungary 5.5 percent, Cyprus 5.1 percent, Slovenia 4.8 percent, Poland 4.1 percent, Malta 3.8 percent, the Czech Republic 3.1 percent, Lithuania 2.9 percent, Slovakia 2.2 percent, Romania 1.6 percent and Bulgaria 0.1 percent.

Inflation in Latvia last year was one of the lowest among EU candidates at 2.6 percent. Concerning the budget deficit, Latvia expects to keep the deficit at 1.7 percent of GDP this year.

At the end of last year Latvia had a national debt of 13.2 percent of GDP while several other EU candidates already have reached the national debt ceiling set out in the Maastricht Treaty or are close to it. Cyprus has its national debt at 59.8 percent, Hungary 55.6 percent, Malta 60.3 percent and Poland 38.8 percent.

Finance ministers from EU member countries at the Malmo summit strongly criticized EU candidate countries for the slow adaptation of their economies to EU levels. They resolved to follow candidate countries' development in the areas of economics and finance much more carefully in the future.