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Businesses bothered by ineffective law enforcement

SLOVAK businesses are most dissatisfied with the ineffectiveness of law enforcement, which stems from the poor state of the country’s judiciary and insufficient application of the principle of equality in the face of the law, according to the findings of a survey done by the Slovak Business Alliance (PAS) to assess the business environment in Slovakia.

SLOVAK businesses are most dissatisfied with the ineffectiveness of law enforcement, which stems from the poor state of the country’s judiciary and insufficient application of the principle of equality in the face of the law, according to the findings of a survey done by the Slovak Business Alliance (PAS) to assess the business environment in Slovakia.

PAS claims that the business environment in Slovakia continued to worsen between April and June 2013, with the business environment index posting a 3.5-percent drop compared to the first quarter of the year, to 70.1 points in the second quarter, according to an official PAS release. Those surveyed in the business community suggest that measures providing more effective protection for honest businesses would help.

“The weak effectiveness of economic management of the state and the allocation of state assistance, which is viewed by the business community as non-transparent and selective, have attracted criticism as well,” PAS said.

The most negatively assessed item involves law enforcement and the functioning of the courts, whose rating dropped 9.12 percent compared to the previous quarter, standing at 10.6 points.

“Slovakia’s judiciary and the inefficient enforcement of law over the long term is among the most criticised areas in Slovakia,” PAS said on August 27, adding that lengthy court trials, problems enforcing claims and issues with fraud have a direct negative impact on doing business in the country.

According to PAS, the fact that the new general prosecutor was appointed even though the Constitutional Court has yet to deliver a verdict in the case connected with the post, does not help increase the credibility of the judiciary as a whole.

This is in reference to the appointment of Jaromír Čižnár, a former law-school classmate of Prime Minister Robert Fico, as Slovakia’s general prosecutor on July 17, before the Constitutional Court decided on a complaint lodged by Jozef Čentéš, who was elected to the general prosecutor post by MPs in June 2011 but never appointed by the president.

“In order to improve the business environment, it is important to pass laws which would lead to larger protection of honest business people from fraudsters and which would [enforce] tougher penalties for firms that fail to pay,” PAS said in its release.

Businesses call for the prompt adoption of systemic changes that would make judicial processes more effective, since a well functioning judiciary is a basic condition for improving the business environment, PAS says.

As for the application of the principle of equality in the face of law, the index dropped by 7.74 percent, standing at 20.2 points. Firms were critical of what they called discrepancies in the government’s approach to certain businesses that put large and regionally significant companies at an advantage.

Unresolved corruption cases and suspicions arising from ineffective management only deepen these sentiments, PAS suggests.

The category measuring management of state money and access to state aid dropped 7.47 percent quarter-on-quarter to 17.4 points, with businesses expressing frustration over the ineffective handling of state money in the case of state orders.

Nevertheless, slight growth was reported in the following categories: companies’ environmental policies up 1.09 percent from the first quarter; the openness of firms when providing information grew 0.79 percent quarter-on-quarter; the stability and predictability of euro exchange rates up by 0.47 percent; and human resources management up 0.06 percent, PAS said.

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