Sweden’s Andersson Sees Broad Support for Surplus Target Change

Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson says she believes there’s support among the other political parties for changing the budget surplus target.

The government announced earlier this week that it will start a parliamentary review on changing to a balanced budget target, in part to free up more money on spending.

The government is “very happy” that the opposition parties “now see a need and are ready to discuss the level” of the target,’’ Andersson said on Thursday. “It’s a big success for the government.”

The minority government in March intended for a non-parliamentary review of the target and has now conceded to a full review. The evaluation will deliver a partial conclusion in April 2016 and present its final report October 2016.

“We take a big step in economic policy when we suggest we should go from a surplus target to a balanced budget target,” Andersson said.

While Sweden should have “high ambitions” regarding investments, and where changing the surplus target is an important part, Andersson is “skeptical” to suggestions that the country should introduce an investment budget.

There are those within Andersson’s own party who have called for increased investments and a separate budget for such spending ahead of the Social Democratic Party’s congress this weekend.

“To have an investment budget, I’m personally quite skeptical to,” she said. One way or the other investment “affect public savings the day you carry it out. It can sound like a free lunch that unfortunately isn’t there,” she said.

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