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PM Believes Slovenia Can Meet Goals of EU Econ Team

Brussels, 16 September (STA) - Prime Minister Borut Pahor has voiced confidence that Slovenia will be able to meet the $lofty$ goals of the EU's special taskforce for economic governance. But he added that this would entail $disciplined measures in public finances$.

Speaking following an extraordinary EU summit in Brussels on Thursday at which leaders from the bloc were acquainted with the work of the taskforce, Pahor would not go into the details of the proposals put forward by the group led by EU President Herman Van Rompuy.

"The goals are lofty, and those failing to meet them will be penalised," said Pahor. He said the report debated by the leaders on the proposed measures today was still secret, which is why he could not say more.

He added that the goals were attainable for Slovenia if it acted by adopting suitable public finance measures in time.

Should this be the case, Slovenia will see results next year and the year after that, "and we will be able to breathe a sigh of relief", he said.

But he warned that failing to undertake urgent measures would allow other countries to leapfrog Slovenia.

Slovenia has pledged to cut its budget deficit to below 3% of GDP by 2013 from around 7% in 2009 as part of its crisis exit strategy.

Meanwhile, the prime minister stressed that, despite an improved economic forecast for Slovenia for this year, the economy was "still not out of the woods".

Pahor's comments come after Van Rompuy told the press that EU leaders had achieved consensus on many of the aspects of the taskforce, which has been set up in the wake of the public financial crisis in Greece.

"We have a large consensus on some of the most important issues like the macro-economic surveillance framework, and this will monitor and correct imbalances, risk of bubbles and divergences in competitiveness."

The EU president said he was expecting to present the full report to EU leaders at the next summit, scheduled for October.

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