THE ECONOMY Ministry will have a new state secretary (deputy minister) from April 1. Slovakia’s cabinet approved the nomination of Kristián Takáč for the post at its March 9 meeting and signalled its acceptance of the resignation of Martin Chren, who will depart on March 21, the SITA newswire reported.
Chren announced in mid-February that he was resigning for personal reasons while emphasising that his decision was not due to questions surrounding several contracts that had been awarded to a firm in which he was a principal.
The controversies involved the Hayek Consulting firm which was co-owned by Chren and Ivan Švejna. The firm had inked contracts with the previous government’s Finance Ministry. Both individuals were subsequently appointed as state secretaries by the incoming government led by Prime Minister Iveta Radičová.
The second controversy related to an €8,100 contract awarded to Hayek Consulting by the National Agency for Development of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, under the authority of the Economy Ministry, after Chren and Švejna had already taken their government posts. Critics charged this constituted a conflict of interest, Hayek Consulting cancelled the contract, and Švejna resigned from his post. Chren, however, did not leave the Economy Ministry and the prime minister did not seek his resignation.
Takáč currently holds a post with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, which he got in 2005. His professional career is manly connected with Brussels.
Takáč may become the only member of the government with dual citizenship, as he is also a Swedish citizen, having lived there since 1988 after his family emigrated from Czechoslovakia.
He was stripped of Czechoslovak citizenship under communism but granted Slovak citizenship again in the 1990s and later studied in Prague and Bratislava.
14. Mar 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff