Eurostat confirms Malta deficit at 2.8% [VIDEO]

Structural deficit under Maastricht criteria's 3% ceiling in 2013, Eurostat data officially confirms

Edward Scicluna (centre) with finance ministry officials
Edward Scicluna (centre) with finance ministry officials
Edward Scicluna reaction to reaching 3pc deficit target

Eurostat data has confirmed that Malta's deficit has gone below the 3% of GDP deficit threshold in 2013.

Finance minister Edward Scicluna welcomed the news, in a recorded video message provided by the finance ministry.

"When Malta entered the excessive deficit procedure due to excessive government spending, the EC was sceptical about our estimates to bring the deficit beneath the 3% mark," Scicluna said.

The deficit in 2013 stood at €203 million (2.8% of GDP) with debt at 73% of GDP at €5.2 billion.

The deficit fell from €224.7 in 2012, 3.3% in 2012. General debt went up from 70.8% (€4.87 billion) in 2012.

Adjustments were made to the balance of the consolidated fund, which amounted to -€223.1 million. Positive corrections included the time-adjusted cash transactions (€41.9 million), other accounts receivable and payable (€22.6 million) and the non-financial transactions in the treasury clearance fund (€4.9 million).

On the other hand, the main downward adjustments were the equity injection to the national air carrier (€40.0 million), the net borrowing of extra budgetary units (€7.4 million), interest received not included in the consolidated fund (€2.8 million) and the adjustment for stock premium proceeds (€1.6 million).

On 28 March, Malta submitted its report on government deficit and debt levels for the years 2010-2013 to the European Council. Compared to the previous submission of 30 September, the deficit for 2012 and 2010 was revised marginally upwards by €0.8 million and €2.1 million respectively.

Revisions were mainly recorded in the other accounts receivable and payable for 2012 (+€1.9 million) and 2010 (+€1.8 million). Moreover, the availability of audited financial statements for both extra budgetary units and local councils resulted in minor revisions in the deficit for 2012 and 2011.

In the euro area the EU average government deficit to GDP ratio decreased from 3.7% in 2012 to 3.0% in 2013, and in the EU28 from 3.9% to 3.3%. In the euro area the government debt to GDP ratio increased from 90.7% at the end of 2012 to 92.6% at the end of 2013, and in the EU28 from 85.2% to 87.1%.

In 2013 Luxembourg (+0.1%) registered a government surplus, Germany was close to balance, and the lowest government deficits in percentage of GDP were recorded in Estonia (-0.2%), Denmark (-0.8%), Latvia (-1.0%) and Sweden (-1.1%). Ten Member States had deficits higher than 3% of GDP: Slovenia (-14.7%), Greece (-12.7%), Ireland (-7.2%), Spain (-7.1%), the United Kingdom (-5.8%), Cyprus (-5.4%), Croatia and Portugal (both -4.9%), France and Poland (both -4.3%).