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Latvian Government Submits Deficit-Cutting Budget to Parliament

Latvia’s government approved next year’s budget, which envisages trimming the deficit to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product from 4.5 percent in 2011, and submitted it to parliament.

“For the first time in many years we’re returning to within the Maastricht Treaty criteria,” Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis told a news conference today.

Latvia turned to a group led by the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund for a 7.5 billion euro ($10.1 billion) loan in 2008 after its second-biggest bank needed a rescue and a debt-fuelled real-estate bubble burst. The Baltic nation plans to conclude that lending program this year and adopt the euro in 2014.

“We’re very close to closing the international lending program,” Finance Minister Andris Vilks told a news conference today. Including next year’s budget measures, Latvia will have passed spending cuts and tax increases of 2.3 billion lati ($4.4 billion) or 17.8 percent of GDP since 2008, he said.

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