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Smer ministers get more money from EU funds

A FIGHT between ministers representing the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Smer over the division of Sk420 billion in funds from the EU was won over the weekend by Smer and Prime Minister Robert Fico.

At a special meeting on Sunday, the cabinet approved a plan to spend the EU money on 11 programmes compared to the original total of 8 programmes. Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek and Health Minister Ivan Valentovič were successful in lobbying for the new programmes.

Fico said after the cabinet session that media reports of a conflict within the government had been exaggerated. "There was no conflict in the cabinet. The three new programmes correspond with the cabinet’s priorities, and all ministers agreed with the plan to divide the money up," Fico said, as reported by the Pravda daily.

The upshot of the cabinet meeting, however, is that the ministers for the SNS will administer €1.2 billion less in spending than they originally proposed. On the other hand, Smer ministers will have €6 billion more than originally planned.

"The SNS ministers are content," said Marián Janušek, the minister for construction and regional development, and the lead administrator of the eurofunds.

The approved proposal now closely resembles the previous proposal of former PM Mikuláš Dzurinda.

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