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Further rounds of car-scrapping bonus await government decision

Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek told journalists on Wednesday, April 15, that the car-scrapping bonus, the second round of which ended on Tuesday, is a good project and that further rounds may be launched in the second half of this year following an in-depth analysis of the scheme.

Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek told journalists on Wednesday, April 15, that the car-scrapping bonus, the second round of which ended on Tuesday, is a good project and that further rounds may be launched in the second half of this year following an in-depth analysis of the scheme.

Jahnátek said that the project has helped car dealers and car manufacturers alike, though some shortcomings had been identified in which some people had misused the scheme. He referred to waiting lists and a continuous rise in car prices, which he said he was not happy with.

The ministry isn’t yet considering the introduction of similar projects in other sectors; Jahnátek said that the scheme was applied to the car industry because of its pan-European significance. The second round provided 22,100 contributions amounting to €22.1 million, all of which were allocated in five days, the TASR newswire reported. €33.2 million was allocated in the first round. The project enabled people to scrap their old cars and buy new ones with a combined contribution of €2,000 from the state and car dealers. Cars taken to scrapyards had to be at least ten years old and registered in Slovakia prior to December 31, 2008.

Prime Minister Robert Fico said before the launch of the second round that it would be the last. Jahnátek said the same afterwards, but the car industry is lobbying hard for further rounds. The scheme has not received universal support, however: the opposition parties have sharply criticised it for it being too costly and non-systematic. The opposition also said that it will not help the wider Slovak economy, just selected groups of people and businesses. The government rejected the criticism, saying that the scheme had pan-European significance and that, through it, Slovakia had expressed its solidarity with the rest of the EU. Similar schemes are now under way in 12 EU countries, while the Czech Republic is planning to introduce one as well. Japan is also planning such a scheme. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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