Prime Minister Robert Fico will not meet with protesting truckers on January 11 because trucks are still blocking a street in Bratislava. The director of the Cabinet Office's Press Department, Braňo Ondruš, explained for the SITA newswire that the prime minister considers it important to hold talks on the electronic toll collection system with “relevant partners”.
Fico wants to discuss the first experiences in using the system and potential compensation for increased costs with the Association of Employers of the Slovak Republic, the National Association of Employers, the Club 500, the Trade Unions Confederation, the Slovak Association of Towns and Villages, the crude-oil refiner Slovnaft, the Association of Road Transport Operators ČESMAD, the National Highway Company, the Ministry of Transport, Posts and Telecommunications and the Finance Ministry.
He invited representatives of these associations and authorities to meet at his office on Monday, January 11 at 15:00. “Apart from others, the option to reduce excise tax, as one of the alternatives to lower costs... will be discussed,” announced Ondruš.
Trucks of road transport operators dissatisfied with terms of the e-toll system remain on Rožňavská Street in Bratislava, said a representative of the Union of Slovak Motor Carriers, Jaroslav Polaček. On January 10, truckers met with Bratislava Mayor Andrej Ďurkovský and agreed to unblock one lane on Rožňavská Street so that drivers were able to get downtown.
Although the Association failed to meet the condition of the prime minister, it will send its representatives to the Office of the Slovak Government and ask Fico for a meeting. The truckers want the Slovak government to reduce the excise tax to the average level in neighbouring countries (0.371 euro per litre of gasoline, and 0.298 euro per litre of diesel); to reduce the road tax as compensation for the e-toll system – as happened in other countries; to suspend the toll until a precise map of 1st category roads with e-toll has been published; and to clearly and visibly mark all sections that underlie the e-toll with an information board.
A past transport minister and current opposition MP, Pavol Prokopovič, said, as quoted by the Sme daily, that in other countries, for instance in Germany, the system had been tested for a year and a half before being launched. So far, the protesting truck drivers are concentrated in the capital, but they threaten to extend the protests all over Slovakia. SITA, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
11. Jan 2010 at 14:00