Feb 16 The Czech cabinet approved on Monday a
package of tax cuts and spending which, together with earlier
measures, totals 1.9 percent of GDP, while Hungary unveiled a
package including changes in taxes, benefits and pensions.
Following are some details of stimulus packages announced by
European governments to help weather the financial crisis:
* BULGARIA -- The government has increased by 20 percent to
5.6 billion levs ($3.66 billion) capital expenditure for 2009.
The money will go into infrastructure projects, public building
repairs and education and healthcare-related projects to create
* CZECH REPUBLIC -- The Czech government has more than
doubled the size of its stimulus package to 73 billion crowns
($3.3 billion) in revenue and spending, representing 1.9 percent
of GDP. New tax cuts and spending measures account for 1.1
percent of GDP.
-- The plan, which will push the fiscal deficit
"significantly" above 3 percent of GDP, sees lower social
security payments, faster depreciation of property, and widening
a value-added tax write-off for the purchase of new cars.
* FRANCE -- France unveiled a 26 billion euro stimulus
package, equivalent to 1.3 percent of gross domestic product.
President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Dec. 31 France was ready to
pump more aid into the economy on top of this amount.
-- The French economy minister said the plan should create
80,000-110,000 new jobs, making up for the expected
disappearance of some 90,000 jobs due to the crisis.
* GERMANY -- The lower house of German parliament approved a
50 billion euro ($66 billion) second stimulus package on Feb.
13, combining investment spending and tax cuts. It includes
investment in infrastructure projects and education, incentives
for new car purchases and one-off payments of 100 euros for
every child in Germany.
-- Germany had previously passed a package of measures worth
31 billion euros, aimed at generating 50 billion euros of
investment and new contracts over two years.
* UNITED KINGDOM -- Britain pledged to spend 500 million
pounds ($754 million) to tackle rising unemployment. The pledged
money is part of a 20 billion pound ($29.91 billion) fiscal
package announced in November.
-- Companies will get 2,500 pounds ($3,767) for new recruits
who have been unemployed for more than six months.
-- The November package included tax cuts and 3 billion
pounds of capital spending, amounting to about 1 percent of GDP.
According to the pre-budget report it will reduce the effect of
the downturn by 0.5 percentage points. It includes a value-added
tax (VAT) cut from 17.5 percent to 15 percent until end-2009.
* HUNGARY -- Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany unveiled tax
and budget measures on Monday, under which the government plans
to raise the main value-added tax to increase revenue and allow
a cut in taxes on jobs to boost the economy.
-- In November, Hungary announced plans for a 1.4 trillion
forint ($6.9 billion), two-year stimulus package to kick-start
economic growth. The package does not involve new spending but
regroups existing funds to assist businesses.
-- 680 billion forints would be allocated to provide lending
guarantees primarily to small and medium-sized firms and 260
billion forints will provide liquidity for lending.
* ITALY -- Italy has approved a package to help families and
firms hit by the financial crisis. Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi said the measures amounted to 80 billion euros, but
economists say the vast majority recycles existing funds.
* LITHUANIA -- Lithuania plans an economic stimulus package
worth 4 billion to 5 billion litas ($1.48-$1.86 billion), the
prime minister said on Feb. 6. The plan aims at helping business
to get credits, speed up the use of EU structural assistance and
ease labour market regulations.
* NETHERLANDS -- The government has announced a "liquidity
impulse" of about 6 billion euros, including allowing companies
to write down investments earlier than usual.
* NORWAY -- Norway presented on Jan. 26 a 20 billion crown
($2.87 billion) fiscal stimulus package. The package consists of
16.6 billion crowns in extra budget spending and 3.3 billion
crowns in tax relief.
* PORTUGAL -- Portugal announced a package in December worth
just under 2.2 billion euros to boost GDP by a planned 0.7
percentage point in 2009. It will focus on investment in
schools, boosting technology and alternative energy.
* SLOVAKIA -- The Slovak government has approved a stimulus
package worth 332 million euros. The funding will come from
reshuffling of budget expenditure. The measures include partial
and temporary reduction of payroll taxes, subsidies for new jobs
and an increase in non-taxable income.
* SLOVENIA -- The Slovenian government's stimulus package is
expected to amount to some 800 million euros or about 2 percent
of GDP. As part of the package, the cabinet offered subsidies to
companies that introduced shorter labour hours due to lower
demand for their products and has also increased tax incentives.
* SPAIN -- Spain has announced various measures to cushion
the impact of the economic slowdown and soaring unemployment
including a 38 billion euro stimulus package. It includes 6
billion euros in tax cuts and 4 billion euros of liquidity to
credit-strapped companies and households. The government has
said it will spend an extra 11 billion euros on public works and
other stimulus measures to create 300,000 jobs.
* SWEDEN -- Sweden announced a stimulus package worth 8.3
billion Swedish crowns ($1 billion) on Dec. 5, but faced
criticism for having too cautious an approach. Prime Minister
Fredrik Reinfeldt said the measures were far greater than the
steps proposed by the EU of 1.2 percent of GDP. The package
totalled almost 3 percent of GDP.
* TURKEY -- Turkey has presented an economic stimulus
package to parliament, Turkish papers said on Feb. 6.
-- The package will give the government cabinet the power to
reduce some corporate tax on investment by up to 90 percent, and
also cut taxes in textiles and retail clothing by 75 percent for
a five-year period if they move their plants to certain cities.
* EUROPEAN UNION -- The European Commission on Nov. 26
proposed an EU-wide fiscal stimulus package worth 200 billion
euros or 1.5 percent of the bloc's gross domestic product (GDP)
-- to be made up of 1.2 percentage points of budget spending and
0.3 percentage points of central EU funding.
(Writing by Carl Bagh and Jijo Jacob, Bangalore Editorial
Reference Unit; Central and East European bureaux, Additional
writing and editing by David Cutler)