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PM admits special regional office could be preserved

SPECIALIZED regional offices may not be canceled as promised by the Fico government after it took office in June last year.

Prime Minister Robert Fico said on February 27 that the ruling coalition had so far agreed only to cancel regional state offices, a goal that is included in the government's program. However, the program says nothing about canceling specialized state offices at the regional level.

Fico said that the coalition parties would therefore have to reach an agreement on this step, as the government prorgram does not include this task.

Fico’s Smer wants to cancel all specialized state offices at the regional level, including regional construction, education, environment and military offices, but its partners have reservations.

The cabinet was to approve a draft bill scrapping regional offices today, while parliament should begin debating the bill in March.

Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák proposes that regional education offices be abolished by mid-2008, while regional environment, road transport and construction offices should also be scrapped.

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