IN SHORT

SNS wants fewer VÚCs

THE RULING Slovak National Party (SNS) says that if the government wants to save money on state administration, it should decrease the number of Slovakia's higher territorial units (VÚCs).

According to SNS chairman Ján Slota, the number of VÚCs, which are the country's self-ruling regions, each with its own capital after which it is named, should be reduced from the current eight down to five, or possibly even to only three, in order to save money on administration and make it easier to get EU funds. The new arrangement should provide special positions to the biggest Slovak cities, Bratislava and Košice.

Smer's Miroslav Číž says, however, that it is too early to make these kinds of changes to the country's territorial and legal divisions, as the VÚCs were only established five years ago. The third ruling partner, Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) thinks that this proposal would not gain enough support on the political scene. The head of the Trnava VÚC Tibor Mikuš, and the head of the parliamentary committee for public administration and regional development, Tibor Cabaj, both from the HZDS, agreed on March 2.

Bratislava Mayor Andrej Ďurkovský said he would welcome Slota's proposal if Bratislava were to become an independent VÚC as well, the SITA news wire wrote.

According to the Pravda daily, it was paradoxically Vladimír Mečiar's HZDS led government which divided the country's original three regions into eight back in 1996.

Viktor Nižňanský, the author of Slovakia's public administration reform also warned that Slota's proposal is a step backwards towards state centralization and that it might not cause any savings at all.

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