Prokopovič: Cabinet will give airport sale the go-ahead

MINISTER of Transport, Postal Services and Telecommunications, Pavol Prokopovič is convinced that coalition partners of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) in the cabinet will vote for the privatization of Bratislava and Košice airports, the SITA news agency reported.

According to Prokopovič, confusing information in the media was behind the reservations expressed by leaders of the Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH) and the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) over the results of the tender to sell 66-percent stakes in the airports.

"Casting doubts over tenders has become a national sport here," said Prokopovič during a regular discussion programme on Slovak Radio on January 14. He discounted speculation that the sale of the 66-percent stake in Bratislava airport to the TwoOne consortium, of which Bratislava airport's rival, Vienna International Airport, is a member, would put a stop to the Slovak airport.

According to the minister, the privatization contract provides for the buyback of the shares by the state in the event that the investor fails to fulfil obligations set out in the development plan.

Opposition party Smer insists that should it come to power in the next parliamentary elections it will re-evaluate the sale of the airports. Ľubomír Vážny of Smer claims that the legislation enables this.

Vážny criticized the government for the heedless sale of state assets. The cabinet could secure investments also through long-term rental, he said.

Smer takes the same position with regard to the privatization of Slovak railway cargo company Železničná spoločnosť Cargo Slovakia (ŽSSK Cargo).

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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