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December: The year in business

Mochovce budget hike cleared. The Economy Ministry agreed to increase the budget on building two new reactors at the Mochovce nuclear power plant of Slovenské Elektrárne. Costs will balloon a further €830 million to €4.63 billion. The state owns a third of SE’s shares with Italian conglomerate Enel controlling the rest.

Mochovce budget hike cleared. The Economy Ministry agreed to increase the budget on building two new reactors at the Mochovce nuclear power plant of Slovenské Elektrárne. Costs will balloon a further €830 million to €4.63 billion. The state owns a third of SE’s shares with Italian conglomerate Enel controlling the rest.

Road tax to change radically. Parliament passed a bill unifying motor vehicle tax for the entire country as of the beginning of 2015 – unlike the current system when self-governing regions themselves set the tax – with environmental impact set as the decisive criteria.
Gabčíkovo rental deal terminated. Slovakia has terminated the contract on the rental of the hydropower station Gabčíkovo to the dominant power producer Slovenské Elektrárne (SE), accusing SE of violation of the contract. SE denied the accusations and indicated that it may take legal steps.

Budget passed, deficit to fall. The parliament adopted the state budget for 2015. Revenues of the general state budget for 2015 are projected at €28.5 billion, expenditures at €30.4 billion leaving a deficit of €1.94 billion. This accounts for 2.49 percent of the gross domestic product including a 0.2 percent reserve while the original draft’s deficit was at 1.98 percent of GDP. The approved budget differs from that the Fico cabinet submitted to parliament in mid-October as results of new methodology to calculate general government finances enabled it to increase the budget deficit, even though it remains below this year’s 2.9 percent.

Eustream proposed alternative gas route. The Slovak natural gas carrier Eustream introduced a project for a new gas route from western Europe via Slovakia and Ukraine to the Balkans. The project, called Eastring, would be an alternative to the Russian project South Stream.

More trains on rails. As promised, the state passenger railway company Železničná Spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK) launched new train lines as of mid-December. Behind the new lines is increased interest in passenger railway transport boosted by the extension of groups of citizens eligible for free rail transport, as well as efforts to continue to build a so-called clock-face schedule in Slovakia.

Dubai and Bratislava connected. Dubai-based airline flydubai added Bratislava to the growing network within its significant expansion in central and southeast Europe. During the first week of December, the Austrian airline, Niki, unveiled its plans to introduce connections from Bratislava to Brussels and Mallorca via Vienna as of April.

Private train carriers entered long-distance transport in Slovakia. The largest private train carrier in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, RegioJet, as well as private train carrier Czech Leo Express, launched passenger transport without state support in Slovakia in mid-December. RegioJet launched Bratislava-Žilina-Košice rail route and Leo Express the Prague-Košice route.

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