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Andrus Ansip

Estonia’s Budget Control Helped Government’s Support, Andrus Ansip Says

Andrus Ansip 49%


Estonia’s policy of controlling the budget deficit translated into public support for the government, similarly to several other European Union member states, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said.

European governments that had the lowest deficits in 2009, including Luxembourg and Sweden, are enjoying the highest support, Ansip said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in London today, citing Eurobarometer data.

Estonia on Jan. 1 became the first former Soviet republic to adopt the euro, with the lowest budget deficit and government debt among the 17 members in the currency bloc last year, according to EU Commission estimates. Ansip, who pushed through austerity measures worth 9 percent of economic output in 2009 via higher taxes and public wage cuts, avoided public unrest.

"I don’t think our people are somehow specially tough," Ansip said. "There is quite strong correlation between government sector deficit and public support to government. In those countries, where the deficit is huge public support to government is almost zero."

Sixty-six percent of residents supported the government of Luxembourg, which had the EU’s lowest budget deficit of 0.7 percent in 2009, according to Eurobarometer survey conducted last May and published in November. Sweden and Austria followed, with 57 percent and 54 percent, respectively and Estonia was fourth, at 53 percent.

The 2010 deficit was 1 percent of gross domestic product in Estonia, 1.8 percent in Luxembourg, 0.9 percent in Sweden and 4.3 percent in Austria, it said. The average EU deficit ballooned to 6.8 percent in 2010 from 0.9 percent in 2007, the commission estimated in November.

Estonia’s government debt was 8 percent last year, compared with the EU’s 79 percent average, it said.

Public support for the government was the lowest in Romania at 12 percent, followed by Latvia and Lithuania at 13 percent. All three had budget deficits of more than 8 percent in 20. 9.


By Linzie Janis and Ott Ummelas



Jan 21, 2011

Source: www.bloomberg.com


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