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July: The year in business

The change at the post of the economy minister. Halfway through his term, Prime Minister Robert Fico changed two of his ministers and a number of state secretaries. He offered no specific explanation for why Dušan Čaplovič was asked to quit as education minister and why Tomáš Malatinský would no longer serve as economy minister. The latter was replaced by Pavol Pavlis, thus-far state secretary of the Economy Ministry.

The change at the post of the economy minister. Halfway through his term, Prime Minister Robert Fico changed two of his ministers and a number of state secretaries. He offered no specific explanation for why Dušan Čaplovič was asked to quit as education minister and why Tomáš Malatinský would no longer serve as economy minister. The latter was replaced by Pavol Pavlis, thus-far state secretary of the Economy Ministry.

Bank Act revision bolsters central bank’s powers. Parliament passed a revision to the Bank Act. The new rules, implementing EU standards, grant greater regulatory powers to the National Bank of Slovakia. The legislation came in response to shortcomings in bank operations revealed during the financial crisis. EU directives focus on sanctions, decreasing dependence on external ratings and reducing pro-cyclical mechanisms in the financial system by using capital reserves. The revision became effective as of August 1, 2014, and some of its provisions as of January 1, 2015 or January 1, 2016.

VAT rate maintained at 20 percent. While the ruling Smer party of Prime Minister Robert Fico had criticised the temporary increase of value added tax (VAT) to 20 percent by the previous government of Iveta Radičová as one of measures to consolidate public finances, it has declined to return it to 19 percent even though conditions for doing so have been met.

Police searched Slovenské Elektrárne. The Slovak police came to headquarters of Slovakia’s largest electricity company, Slovenské Elektrárne (SE), as well as other facilities seeking documents pertaining to the privatisation of the company back in 2006. Amid continued talk of a sell-off by its Italian majority owner Enel, the timing of the raid was powering a wave of questions and speculation. The police said the raid was part of an investigation of serious crimes.

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