News Briefs

Cabinet nixes draft public service law
EU urges Slovakia to quicken pace of reform process
Refugee group aids returning Slovak Roma
Top court overrules complaint of Chief Justice Harabin

Cabinet nixes draft public service law

Cabinet on October 11 rejected a draft law on the civil service due to its poor quality. Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ivan Mikloš explained that the new law, proposed by Labour Minister Peter Magvaši, would have made a state official's length of service the main criterion for receiving bonuses. Such a system would prefer old employees to new ones and protect less productive employees, Mikloš said.
The draft also said a state employee could be paid his entire salary during sick leave, and would give a severance payment of ten months' salary to retiring employees.
Magvaši, angry his proposal had been rejected, criticised Mikloš after the meeting, saying the Deputy PM had wanted to include an amendment allowing civil servants to be assigned to other jobs for 12 months without their agreement, a demand which was against the constitution, he claimed.
"Mr. Magvaši is trying to convince the public that his draft is a good one, something he wasn't even able to convince the government of," replied Mikloš.


EU urges Slovakia to quicken pace of reform process

At the conclusion of its October 11 meeting, the EU-Slovakia joint parliamentary committee (JPC) urged the Slovak Government to push ahead with reform of the country's public administration and to strengthen the independence of the judiciary. The JPC also recommended the government intensify reforms regarding the banking and financial sector, the macroeconomic sphere and budget stabilisation.
The EU deputies also told the government that the implementation of its anti-corruption programme would increase the credibility of governmental institutions. The Committee underscored the importance of respecting of national minorities' rights and put special stress on the difficult position of the Roma population especially regarding job opportunities, education and health care.


Refugee group aids returning Slovak Roma

Since the beginning of this year, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has supported around 400 Slovak Romanies who returned to Slovakia after their applications for a political asylum in western Europe were rejected as unjustified by countries such as Belgium, Finland and Holland, said the head of the IOM in Slovakia, Daniela Stábová on October 11.
The IOM project is financed by EU funds as well as the countries mentioned above, and helps Romanies find a job and integrate into society. Almost 2,900 Slovak asylum seekers live in Belgium, Finland, and Holland, Stábova reported.
However, of the 400 Roma the IOM has assisted, only two have managed to find a job since their return. The IOM's newest Košice office has been far more successful in explaining to Roma why their social benefits are lower on their return to Slovakia, and the importance of re-registering their children with local schools and medical authorities.


Top court overrules complaint of Chief Justice Harabin

The Constitutional Court on October 11 turned down a suit filed September 19 by Supreme Court Chief Justice Štefan Harabín, in which the latter had accused the government of infringing on his constitutional rights by recommending to parliament that he be fired.
Calling Harabín's complaint "basically unfounded", Constitutional Court Chief Justice Ján Mazák explained that while the Constitution guarantees equal access to public office among Slovakia's citizens, it does not guarantee the opportunity to carry out the duties of office or to remain in office. Harabín and Justice Minister Ján Čarnogurský have been at loggerheads for several months over what the minister has called Harabín's professional and moral inadequacies.


Compiled by Tom Nicholson from SITA

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