The Slovak government has committed newly-appointed Construction and Regional Development Minister Igor Štefanov (SNS) to undertake all necessary measures to cancel the contract concerning the so-called bulletin-board tender, Prime Minister Robert Fico announced after an extraordinary session of the cabinet on Thursday, April 23, the TASR newswire reported.
The newswire added that the Prime Minister said that if Štefanov doesn't carry out the task, the minister will lose Fico's confidence and he will submit a proposal for Štefanov's dismissal.
According to Fico, the government has responded in this way to an appeal by the European Commission for Slovakia to explain the circumstances surrounding the contract signed by the ministry, worth €120 million to procure services financed with EU funds, within 60 days.
The ability to draw EU funds in a transparent and efficient way and thereby contribute to mitigation of the impacts of the global economic crisis is more important than relations within the governing coalition, Fico said to TASR.
Štefanov did not attend the extraordinary session of the cabinet as he was on a trip abroad. Another two ministers representing the SNS party left the session prior to the vote on the matter, while the remaining members of the Cabinet adopted the resolution by agreement. The Prime Minister did not specify the deadline by which Štefanov should act.
The announcement of the tender for the provision of assistance in drawing EU funds was posted last year only on a ministry bulletin board. The former construction minister, Marian Janušek, an SNS nominee, then signed contracts worth €120 million with two companies (Avocat and Zamedia) that are said to be close to SNS party leader Ján Slota. The resulting controversy led to Janušek's resignation on April 14, with Štefanov replacing him in the post. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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24. Apr 2009 at 10:00