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Finance Ministry Regrets S&P Rating Cut

Ljubljana, 14 January (STA) - The Finance Ministry responded on Saturday to S&P's decision to cut Slovenia's main credit rating from AA- to A+ by expressing regret that the rating agency did not consider all the efforts of the leaders of the eurozone and the European Central Bank for preventing the continuation of the crisis.

"Slovenia is implementing all the measures needed to stabilise its public finances, despite being in the process of forming a new government," the ministry said in a press release.

The new National Assembly has already adopted an austerity act and the outgoing government sent a set of bills aimed at dealing with the crisis to parliament on Thursday, the ministry noted.

Last year, the budget deficit stood stood at 4.3% of GDP, which is 0.4 percentage points of GDP below the goal set in the stability programme for the year, the ministry stressed, adding that "the Finance Ministry is implementing measures which prevent taking up further obligations for the budget also in 2012".

The ministry moreover expects that the new government will continue or even boost the consolidation of public finances in 2012 and 2013, when Slovenia is to bring its deficit under 3% and introduce all the needed structural reforms in line with the stability programme.

Slovenia moreover backed European Economic and Monetary Commissioner Olli Rehn's statement on Friday, as "we consider that the ratings cut is...exaggerated and does not take into consideration all the implemented measures at the level of the EU and Slovenia".

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