THE PROBLEMS surrounding funding of a new Slovak cultural centre, the Slovak House, in the Hungarian village of Mlynky apparently will not be resolved as early as planned due to the dismissal of Milan Vetrák from his post as chairman of the Office for Slovaks Living Abroad (ÚSŽZ), effective as of May 10.
His departure means the signing of a treaty with Hungary to resolve the funding dispute has been postponed indefinitely, ÚSŽZ spokesperson Tomáš Šarluška said, as reported by the TASR newswire.
The treaty was supposed to end a dispute that was caused by the weakening of the Hungarian forint against the euro. Slovakia and Hungary previously agreed to provide the same amount to the Slovak House. While Slovakia set aside €492,000 for the project, the Hungarian government agreed to hand over HUF126 million.
Due to the fall in the value of the Hungarian forint, this currently represents only €440,000. The proposed treaty stipulates that Hungary would provide almost €14,000 per year to the Slovak House for a period of three years in compensation.
The centre for ethnic Slovaks in Mlynky is scheduled to be opened in June, but this will depend on the schedules of the prime ministers of Slovakia and Hungary, Robert Fico and Viktor Orbán, TASR wrote.
The Slovak government dismissed Vetrák on May 9, citing what it called his poor performance as head of the office and the lack of confidence expressed by organisations of Slovaks living abroad about his leadership.
“Aimed at preventing further damage relating to Mr Vetrák’s activities in the job, the government has made the decision to fill the post with a competent person who will be fully accepted by associations of Slovaks living abroad,” TASR wrote, and Igor Furdík will take the post immediately, according to the statement issued by the Government Office.