Sofia aims for budget surplus

SOFIA – Bulgaria’s finance minister said yesterday the EU candidate country would aim for a budget surplus in 2007, stepping back from plans to swing from Europe’s tightest fiscal policy to a balanced budget or a deficit. «We will be aiming for a fiscal surplus in 2007. It is too early, however, to say exactly how much,» Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski told reporters after meeting with a representative from the International Monetary Fund. The Balkan country has committed to achieve a budget surplus of 3 percent this year to counter risks, arising from its huge current account gap seen at 11.3 percent of GDP this year, after surging to 11.8 percent in 2005. Deputy Finance Minister Lubomir Datsov said in April the government could run a small deficit or a balanced budget next year due to the need to co-finance EU-funded projects if Bulgaria joins the bloc in 2007 as planned. (Reuters)