The more public money Slovak lawmakers spend, the less they will earn as of next year, under draft legislation adopted by the government today binding MPs' salaries to the public deficit.

If the law is passed by parliament, they will earn 15.6% less in 2011; double the 2010 public deficit projected to reach 7.8% of gross domestic product.

Similarly, if next year's deficit equals the 4.9% of GDP projected, MPs' pay will be cut by 9.8% in 2012.

Should it come into force, the move is likely to motivate lawmakers to be fiscally responsible, Ondrej Dostal, a lawmaker from the ruling coalition's Most-Hid party, told AFP.

‘Lawmakers are responsible for passing the state budget in parliament, therefore responsible for the deficit level,’ Dostal said.

Slovakia, which adopted the euro last year, aims to bring the public finance shortfall back under 3% of GDP by 2013 to meet the EU’s deficit ceiling for eurozone members.

The 2011 austerity package of the centre-right government of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova - including 10% cuts in ministers' salaries, a VAT hike and higher taxes on alcohol and cigarettes - aims to raise €1.7bn to get public finances back in shape.

‘It's a symbolic gesture to show that lawmakers - who earn about €3,500 per month - will join the rest of the public sector in belt-tightening measures,’ added Dostal.