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Published: 10/16/2023

Assessment by the Fiscal Council: Assessment of budgetary documents for 2024 and 2025

The draft budgetary documents indicate a deteriorating fiscal situation and a continuation of pro-cyclical expansionary fiscal policy this year and next, given a more realistic assessment of fiscal developments this year than the one presented in the documents. This conclusion is independent of the extensive funding foreseen for reconstruction after the natural disaster in August. In the context of relatively high nominal economic growth and supply-side constraints, additional fiscal stimulus in the face of necessary intervention measures is not appropriate as it may inter alia contribute to a prolonged persistence of high inflation. The challenges of recovering from a natural disaster further underline the need for a counter-cyclical implementation of fiscal policy, which would, during a favourable economic cycle, also create adequate fiscal space in the event of emergency situations. As has been the case for many years, budgetary documents are again failing to address important and growing long-term challenges, which therefore pose an even increasing risk to fiscal sustainability. In contrast to the budget plans presented and in the context of high uncertainty, the starting point for budgetary planning should be a credible no-policy-change scenario, a core prerequisite for identifying manoeuvring room for intervention and other discretionary measures. Once again, the budgetary documents submitted to the Fiscal Council for assessment, while taking into account the understandable uncertainty about the post-flood costs, are not comprehensive and sufficiently credible; they deviate from good medium-term budgetary planning practice and do not allow for a comprehensive assessment of compliance with the fiscal rules laid down in the legislation.

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