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Economy Ministry must disclose info on Whirlpool investment

THE ECONOMY Ministry will disclose information on the investment contract with home appliances’ producer Whirlpool Slovakia in Poprad.

The civil association, Friends of the Earth-CEPA, filed a complaint with the Supreme Court against the Economy Ministry since it refused to disclose information about the investment. The group would like to know on what basis the Slovak cabinet decided in 2003 that the investment was in the public interest and that it was possible to expropriate private land for the state.

The ministry argued that the disclosure could damage the investor's interests.

The Supreme Court, however, found the complaint of the environmentalists justified and ordered the ministry to deal with the pressure group’s request.

The court also ruled that if the ministry decides to keep some parts of the contract confidential, it must justify the move.

"No one has said we have violated the law; it is necessary to rework this," ministerial spokesman Maroš Havran told the SITA news agency.

He added that the ministry has adopted a new philosophy concerning the disclosure of information on investment contracts.

"When signing contracts in the public interest with foreign investors we will not conceal using even a single crown from public finances," Havran added.

Household appliances’ producer Whirlpool began its Slovak operations in 1992. The company is one of the most significant foreign investors in Slovakia.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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