TEN foreign chambers of commerce active in Slovakia have asked the president of the Slovak Republic in a letter to return the bill on strategic companies to parliament to be debated again.
“We are convinced that the bill on some measures related to strategic companies contravenes principles of free market and restricts inflow of investments and creation of new jobs,” the chambers state in their open letter, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
According to the chambers, the legislation was forged in a non-transparent manner, without involvement of economic experts, the broader public and the companies it will affect. It contains a vaguely defined mechanism to award the status of strategic company to firms in financial difficulty.
“The bill does not give an in-depth description of control mechanisms in this process. In our opinion, this cements the state’s influence on the economy and opens space for potentially speculative behaviour," the chambers argue. They agree that the legislation could interfere with ownership rights anchored in the Constitution of the Slovak Republic to a large extent and harm the business environment in Slovakia.
“The efforts of the Slovak government should, in our view, focus more on creation of favourable conditions for private companies, rather than on cementing its own influence and destabilisation of business environment,” SITA quoted from the letter.
The letter bears the signatures of representatives of the US, Austrian, British, Slovak-Canadian, Slovak-German, Irish, Italian-Slovak, Spanish, Swedish and Swiss Chambers of Commerce working in Slovakia.
Pursuant to the new bill, the state will be able to purchase assets of companies in bankruptcy recognised by the cabinet as strategic. The status of strategic company can be awarded to a company in bankruptcy; it must be a firm important to health protection, state security, proper functioning of the economy, have over 500 employees or pursue activities in network industries.