Opposition wants finance minister’s head

The opposition Social Democrats have called for the dismissal of Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek whom they accuse of botching the government’s fiscal reform, being responsible for the problems with EU funding and most recently trying to influence the investigation into the overpriced purchase of Spanish military CASA planes. Party leader Bohuslav Sobotka said on Monday that the finance minister had become a serious liability and urged the prime minister to act with the same speed with which he had earlier dismissed the justice minister for alleged poor financial management. The opposition argues that the finance minister’s painful fiscal cure in the form of VAT hikes is clearly not working since the state deficit in the first half of this year is at the same level as last year and the country is clearly not going to meet its fiscal targets.