Austria's biennial budget for the years 1998 and 1999 is in place ð and it is keeping the Alpine nation on a course for success and stability in Europe.

Under the coalition agreement revenues will reach ATS 682 billion (US$ 55 billion) in 1998, with expenditures of ATS 749.3 billion (US$ 60 billion) ð reducing the total deficit to ATS 67.3 billion (US$ 5.4 billion).

With the shortfall projected to sink to just 2.6 percent of gross domestic product in the following year, the 1999 deficit will be the first in ten years to fall below the rate of economic growth for the year.

The Government is continuing its progress toward bringing its budget into balance, largely through a partial reform of the state pension system, including a move to bring so-called "incidental workers," with a monthly income of around ATS 5,000 (US$ 400).

By achieving the Maastricht criteria, Austria is also remaining on course for participating in the European Economic Monetary Union.

For foreign investors, the two-year budget means an assurance of a predictable economic and fiscal environment up to the start of the next millennium.

Austria on the Way to the Monetary Union
Net Deficit as a % of GDP        National Debt as a % of GDP
1995          5,1                         69,5
1996          4,0                         70,2
1997          2,8                         67,4
1998          2,7                         67,0

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