Government parties fail to reach consensus on how to use budget surplus

Czech government coalition leaders failed to agree on how to use the 2016 state budget surplus at their meeting on Monday, and Finance Minister and ANO chairman Andrej Babis proposed that the decision be adjourned until it is clear how the 2017 budget develops. "Let's the budget runs and see how it will look in late March," Mr Babiš told journalists. The ANO leader rejected the Social Democrats' proposal that the surplus be transferred to the pension system account. As an alternative proposal, the leading party in government suggested that the surplus be used to reduce the 2017 budget deficit. The deadline for the cabinet to make the decision and submit it to the Chamber of Deputies is April 30. The 2016 budget was approved with a 70 billion crown deficit, but saw a surplus of 61.8 billion crowns. The 2017 budget projects a deficit of 60 billion crowns.