Thanks to the changes introduced since September 1998, Slovakia now fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria. The independence of the judiciary has improved de facto but needs to be consolidated de jure, notably through an amendment to the constitution eliminating the probation period for judges and modifying the nomination and removal procedures.
Continued efforts are needed to sustain the stable functioning of democratic institutions, to step up the fight against crime and corruption and to protect minority rights. Particular attention should be paid to improving the situation of the Roma and to fight discriminatory attitudes in society.
Slovakia is close to being a functioning market economy thanks to the courageous policy decisions and the impressive reform agenda of the new government. The implementation of these decisions in the coming year should take the process forward and complete the legal and economic conditions of a functioning market economy. Continued progress towards sustainable macroeconomic stability and the implementation of the structural reform programme should enable Slovakia to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union in the medium term.
In the course of 1999 Slovakia has adopted measures to reduce internal and external imbalances and the first results are encouraging. Plans for privatisation of the remaining state-owned enterprises and banks have been adopted and measures aimed at accelerating banks and enterprises restructuring are being implemented.
Slovakia needs to ensure the sustainability of these structural and legal reforms, particularly by developing the capacity of the banking sector to perform its financial intermediary function, by completing privatisation in a transparent and market-based manner, and by amending and effectively applying bankruptcy legislation. Priority should also be given to consolidating macroeconomic stability, in particular through deeper fiscal reform in a medium-term setting.
Slovakia has made important progress in legislative alignment in the internal market. A public procurement law was adopted which is aligned with the acquis and foresees the establishment of an independent procurement authority. Framework legislation was adopted in the areas of standards and certification which incorporates the principles of the 'New and Global Approach' and should pave the way for further alignment in this sector. Important progress was made in the competition area with the abolition of the controversial law on enterprise revitalization and the adoption of state aid law. The latter will facilitate improved monitoring of state aids. Important progress was made in alignment in the energy sector with the commitment to closure dates for the Bohuncie nuclear reactors. Some progress has been made in the banking and financial services area to improve transparency and protect minority shareholders. In the social sector, progress has been made in enhancing social dialogue.
In other sectors of the acquis, although the momentum has picked up and policy decisions are moving the alignment process in the right direction, there has been little concrete progress in terms of adopted legislation. For example, while the process of transposition in the environment field was re-launched with the adoption of some regulations in the area of air and nature protection, the bulk of transposition of the environment acquis remains to be done. Likewise in justice and home affairs, although some progress was made by introducing new types of crime into the penal code and ratifying some important international conventions, much work remains to be done in making amendments to the aliens and asylum laws and to consolidate efforts in fighting organised crime and corruption.
Slovakia has adequately addressed the political, state aid and internal market short term Accession Partnership priorities. However the administrative capacity and environment areas did not receive sufficient attention.
The entire 100 pages of this report can be viewed at www.europa.sk/dokumenty0.html
18. Oct 1999 at 0:00