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Langoš

IS THERE any logical reason why a fried piece of heavy dough with sour cream and garlic on top should be the meal of choice at outdoor swimming pools, lakesides, music festivals and almost any summer event? No. Yet somehow, in Slovakia, the langoš has achieved this position.

IS THERE any logical reason why a fried piece of heavy dough with sour cream and garlic on top should be the meal of choice at outdoor swimming pools, lakesides, music festivals and almost any summer event? No. Yet somehow, in Slovakia, the langoš has achieved this position.

Is there any reason why the Catholic Church, or for that matter any other church that receives public funding, shouldn’t disclose the value of its property? Each year, the state pays €37 million to cover the wages of nearly 4,000 priests. Does the church really need the money? The recently revealed transactions of former Catholic archbishop Ján Sokol indicate that perhaps it does not. But no one knows.

Does it make any sense to re-nationalise health-care insurance? Sure, the health insurance market does have its flaws, but most of them result from too much state intervention, not a lack of it. In a country, where there is zero tradition of good public governance, and which is in the middle of a continent-wide economic crisis, the hundreds of millions needed to carry out the transaction could find a better use. Still, Prime Minister Robert Fico is determined to go ahead with the plan.

Why isn’t there a serious debate about closing or privatising the public-service media? Each new administration has to find a way to get rid of the serving director. Each time new candidates talk of independence, and the terribly low quality of broadcasting, especially in the news segment. The present ones running for election next week are no exception. Yet when possible public-sector savings are discussed, this publicly-funded institution, which consistently reports huge losses, is never mentioned.

The success of the langoš, the reluctance to deal with church funding or the loss-making public broadcaster, and the enthusiasm for state-run health care all have a common cause: tradition. This is the way it has always been here. Unfortunately, this only explains these phenomena. It doesn’t make them any easier to digest.

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