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Fico: Smer will pursue greater regulation of food and energy prices

Opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico has signalled that his party will intervene to more heavily regulate prices in the economy if it returns to power after the March 10 general election.

Opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico has signalled that his party will intervene to more heavily regulate prices in the economy if it returns to power after the March 10 general election.

Slovakia should return to what he called "healthy, regulated policy", Fico said during a press conference held on January 3, 2012. He argued that one of the reasons why food prices went up last year was the failure of the Iveta Radičová government to regulate them, and the increase in VAT, the TASR newswire reported.

One of the aims of the Smer party, if it returns to government after the March election, will be the reintroduction of legislation to allow companies operating in the energy sector to submit price-increase proposals only if they are passed by the general assembly of the company instead of just the managing board.

The party also wants to return to the Economy Ministry its consultancy role in decision-making over prices, and to establish a special body within the ministry which would control developments on the market as well as the relationship between the regulatory body and monopolies, TASR wrote.

Representatives of the Economy Ministry rejected the proposed Smer policies. They pointed out that the last hike in energy prices was passed by a nominee of the Smer party, Jozef Holjenčík, who leads the Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO), the SITA newswire reported. Moreover, they questioned Holjenčík's statement that the energy prices could also be reduced later in the year.

“It is debatable whether the hike in the prices of energies before the parliamentary elections and their possible drop after the elections, might have been affected not only by the opinions of experts, but also the political speculations of representatives of the Smer party,” said the ministry, as quoted by SITA.

Source: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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