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Fico: Gabčíkovo should belong to Slovakia

THE GABČÍKOVO hydro dam "should belong to the state", while the contract by which the Slovenské Elektrárne (SE) power utility acquired the use of Gabčíkovo is unfavourable for Slovakia and has been null and void from the start, said Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Fico added that the cabinet would be devoting more attention to this issue in the near future.

According to the prime minister, the new owner of SE, the Italian company Enel, was given control of the production of electricity at Gabčíkovo "free of charge", meaning that Slovakia now loses Sk1.5 billion to Sk2 billion annually in revenue it should be receiving.

Enel gained access to Gabčíkovo through the terms of the privatization sale of a 66 percent SE stake under the previous Mikuláš Dzurinda government.

Fico also claimed that, according to legal analyses, the contract signed between SE and Vodohospodarská Výstavba for the lease of the Gabčíkovo hydropower plant has been void from the start.

"SE has no legal right to Gabčíkovo, and we will do our best to ensure that the electricity produced there will be used for the benefit of Slovakia and not for the Italian owner of SE.

"However, this has nothing to do with the deal concerning the sale of the 66 percent stake [in SE], which will remain untouched," Fico said.

SE spokesman Juraj Kopriva said his firm regards the contract according to which SE uses the Gabčíkovo waterworks as valid.

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