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03/06/2016   At the International Conference in Vilnius, Focus on the Culture of Fiscal Discipline and Sustainability of Public Finances

At the international conference Sustainability of Public Finances: What are the Prerequisites for the Fiscal Discipline? held in the Seimas on Friday, representatives of institutions of the Baltic States and other countries discussed preconditions for the development of culture of fiscal discipline, sustainability of public finances, shared experience of their countries and institutions.

Attendees of the conference discussed preconditions for sustainable public finances, credible and effective medium term budgetary framework, the most common fiscal rules, their implementation and monitoring practice.

The Keynote Speaker Gerhard Steger, designer and implementer of the Austrian budget reform, former Chair of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials, presented the benefits of the budget reform implemented in Austria. Among those sharing their experience were Stefan Ciobanu, Head of Unit in the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission, Andrus Alber, Vice Chairman of the Fiscal Council of Estonia, Janis Platais, Chairman of the Fiscal Discipline Council of Latvia, and Algimantas Rimkūnas, Vice Minister of Finance of Lithuania.

The speakers noted that implementation of a budget reform becomes very complicated if there is not enough transparency, public finance risks are not disclosed and the true benefits of money for the citizens and taxpayers are not clear. Substantial cultural changes, broad consensus and understanding of the benefits of reform are required. This is an ongoing process that requires effort and strong determination.

It was also noted that, when planning medium-term budget, it is important to set long-term goals affecting sustainability of long-term public finances. At the conference, the representative of the Fiscal Council of Estonia noted that a four-year budgetary strategy of the state is being developed alongside the Stability Programme for Estonia, facilitating annual budgetary procedure. According to the Chairman of the Fiscal Discipline Council of Latvia, structural balance, expenditure growth, continuity and debt development rules are applied in the country. The speakers also took note of the important role of independent fiscal institutions within the budgetary framework.

The conference was organised by the National Audit Office in collaboration with the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

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Last updated on 1 September 2016

National Audit Office of Lithuania

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