Outgoing President Ivan Gašparovič, who last spoke in parliament in 2009, held his final address June 11, speaking on high unemployment rate, poor state of judiciary, corruption, but also media.

His speech lasted for 40 minutes and as positives, the president stressed the role of traditional family, and the skills and brains of Slovak population.

Gašparovič named as a big problem of state power the discontinuity of government policies. “Some reform steps of governments had the characteristics of a new beginning,” he said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “They did not follow the previous development in various spheres, disrupted the existing forms, only to often later return to what had been functioning well.”

As for the foreign policy, the president first praised the good country’s cooperation with neighbours and a stable political environment. “We’re a member of NATO and EU,” he said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “We’ve become a member of the Schengen Area and the eurozone. We don’t have to and we won’t face political and security risks and threats on our own.”

Turning to internal policy issues, the head of state said that he stands by his refusal - for two years – to appoint prosecutor-general-elect Jozef Čentéš and that his course of action in this respect was correct both in political and legal terms. Gašparovič called the persistent unemployment rate and divisions in society - in terms of wealth, access to education, employment and information - the key problems plaguing Slovakia.

“The Roma problem” is a ticking time bomb, he said. “A long-term solution to social problems on the part of the Roma communities ... can only be attained as a two-way process,” he added. As for the work of the media, Gašparovič said that "the most media are no longer an objective provider of information and opinions to the public ... too often they politicise and manipulate this information and [the relevant] opinions”.

(Source: SITA, TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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