ECONOMIC freedom in Slovakia has fallen 15 places year-on-year in a global ranking by the free market oriented F. A. Hayek Foundation.

The country ended in 57th position - the lowest among central European countries.

“This result has completely overturned last year’s improvement by 9 places and thus confirmed our negative outlook in the context of the consolidation measures that the incumbent government has introduced following its rise to power,” said the Hayek Foundation, which cited data from the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing Washington D.C.-based think tank, and The Wall Street Journal.

The report was drafted based on data from 2012. Slovakia’s fall was attributed to tax hikes, an increase in the state debt and changes to the Labour Code. It blames reduced flexibility in the labour market for high unemployment. High levels of corruption pose another negative factor.