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Slovak Premier Calls for Abolition of Two Holidays to Fuel GDP

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico proposed abolishing two of the country’s 14 public holidays, saying the additional working days would offset austerity measures.

The Cabinet is considering ending the Sept. 1 Constitution Day and move the Sept. 15 Virgin Mary holiday to a weekend, Fico said today at a press conference in the Slovak capital, Bratislava today. Each move may add as much as 0.2 percentage point to economic growth, he said.

The government wants to offset the impact of higher taxes and spending cuts on the economy as the country works to bring the budget deficit below the European Union’s limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2013 from 4.6 percent targeted for this year. The Finance Ministry on June 15 cut its forecast for next year’s growth to 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent.

Fico, whose Smer party won elections in June on pledges to insulate poorer citizens from the economic slowdown, wants to abolish the 19 percent flat income tax. Corporate rate is set to rise to 23 percent, while individuals will pay a 25 percent tax on income exceeding 3.246 euros a month.

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