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Photograph: HINA/ Dario GRZELJ /ds

Croatia's consolidated general government budget deficit in 2015 was HRK 10.7 billion or 3.2% of Gross Domestic Product, while consolidated general government debt reached HRK 289.7 billion or 86.7% of GDP, according to figures from a report on excessive budget deficit and general government debt in Croatia, presented at the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) in Zagreb on Thursday.

By comparison, general government deficit in 2014 was HRK 18.1 billion or 5.5% of GDP, while general government debt at the end of 2014 was HRK 284.2 billion or 86.5% of GDP, the DZS's revised data show.

General government debt increased by 1.9% in 2015 compared with 2014, 2.5 times less than in 2014. This is the lowest debt growth rate since the introduction of the ESA 2010 methodology in the Excessive Deficit Procedure. the DZS says.

The level of deficit in 2015 was largely impacted by a larger than planned fall in the government budget balance, from HRK 12.5 billion to HRK 8.85 billion. The increase in tax revenues and the fall in gross fixed capital investments are the factors that contributed the most to the reduction of the budget gap, according to the DZS report.

In 2015, a general government primary surplus of HRK 1.22 billion or 0.36% of GDP was recorded for the first time.

The European Commission uses reports like this in assessing whether EU member states meet the Maastricht criteria of keeping their general government budget deficit within 3% of GDP and their consolidated general government debt below 60% of GDP.

The government of Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic has projected the general government deficit for 2016 at HRK 9.2 billion or 2.7% of GDP and expects the public debt to GDP ratio to reach 86.8% this year and 84.7% by 2018.

(EUR 1 = HRK 7.498011)

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