Kazimir, Critic of Greece, Said to Stay Slovak Finance Minister

  • President Kiska is expected to appoint new cabinet next week
  • Kazimir cut Slovak deficit while safeguarding social spending

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has picked Peter Kazimir, one of the most outspoken critics of Greece’s economic policies in the euro area, to continue as finance minister, a person familiar with the decision said.

The premier will include Kazimir in the line-up of his third administration, expected to be appointed by President Andrej Kiska next week, said the person who spoke under condition of anonymity because the nominations are yet to be officially announced.

Kazimir, 47, a graduate of the University of Economics in Bratislava, served as a deputy finance minister in Fico’s first administration in 2006-2010, when the former communist country adopted the euro. As finance minister, Kazimir became known as a vocal critic of Greece during the escalation of the country’s debt crisis last year, pointing to Slovakia’s success in reducing tax fraud as a lesson to follow.

Under Kazimir’s oversight, Slovakia narrowed the budget deficit to 2.5 percent of economic output last year from 4.8 percent in 2011. Accelerating economic growth has made it easier to meet his party’s call for more social spending while maintaining fiscal prudence, a feat that led to a rating upgrade and helped drive yields of shorter government bonds below zero.

Smer, of which Kazimir is a deputy chairman, will have nine posts in the 15-seat cabinet, after winning the March 5 general elections. The ruling coalition also includes the Slovak National Party, Smer’s partner in Fico’s first government, and two former opposition parties, Most-Hid and Siet, which have criticized the outgoing administration for non-transparent public procurement and a failure to improve the underfunded health care and education systems.

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