Slovakia’s Deputy PM says he generally supports separation of church and state

Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister for Minorities, Rudolf Chmel (Most-Híd), has said that he generally supports the separation of church and state, but concedes that this is unlikely to take place for some time. “There's a long way to go until this happens,” he stated at a press conference on August 19 in Bratislava, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that neither his party, nor the governing coalition have dealt with this topic.

Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister for Minorities, Rudolf Chmel (Most-Híd), has said that he generally supports the separation of church and state, but concedes that this is unlikely to take place for some time. “There's a long way to go until this happens,” he stated at a press conference on August 19 in Bratislava, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that neither his party, nor the governing coalition have dealt with this topic.

According to him, churches are currently paid a rather large share of the Culture Ministry’s budget. He views the separation of the financial package allocated to the churches and the ministry's actual budget as the best solution. Culture and Tourism Minister Daniel Krajcer (SaS) said that no proposal dealing with separation of church and state has been submitted so far.

He noted that this is a very complex process, which isn't a question of several months, as it concerns a core change in church financing. He pointed to the government’s manifesto, which states that the government plans to launch a society-wide discussion of this topic. He said that any kind of decision can only be made after consultation with the churches that result in an agreement.

The Slovak Bishops Conference (KBS) has expressed regret that Krajcer has pondered the financing of the churches out loud without consulting them first. KBS hasn't appointed any official commission to deal with this issue yet, but is preparing to do so within a month, said KBS spokesman Jozef Kováčik. A total of €37.19 million was allocated from the state budget to churches and religious associations in 2009.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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