NEWS IN SHORT

PM floats plan for slimmer government

THE CURRENT economic crisis is threatening Slovakia and its future, Robert Fico, the prime minister and chairman of the government’s largest coalition party Smer, said at a recent party conference, the SITA newswire reported.

THE CURRENT economic crisis is threatening Slovakia and its future, Robert Fico, the prime minister and chairman of the government’s largest coalition party Smer, said at a recent party conference, the SITA newswire reported.

In his address Fico said that the crisis had been caused by extreme liberalism and individualism. He criticised anti-crisis measures proposed by the opposition, such as lowering taxes or selling state assets. He said Smer would not allow what he called ‘right-wing changes’ to the Labour Code.

Fico later called on the opposition to return to the Economic Crisis Council, SITA reported.

Smer will support revision of the state budget for 2009, Fico said. In order to save public finances, he also proposed dissolving regional governments and merging some central government ministries.

Fico told public broadcaster STV on May 10 that he didn’t want to scare anyone “but there are [ministries] that have been together before”. That would appear to be a reference to ministries such as construction and economy, or education and culture, which could be merged. The prime minister, however, said that any reductions would only be a subject for the next government, the Sme daily reported.

Fico also talked about his vision to create a “governmental town”, which would mean the concentration of central bodies of the state administration and ministries, SITA reported.

“This is a decision that would bring the state literally billions of crowns,” Sme quoted Fico as saying. (One billion Slovak crowns is equivalent to €33.2 million.)

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