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Lajčák’s numbers are not accurate

The recent scandal surrounding the events organised by the Foreign Ministry and connected with the Slovak presidency of the Council of European Union gets ever more and more protracted and unclear, with FAM explanations bringing confusion rather than clarity.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs still refuses to publish contracts with artists regarding the launch of the EU presidency logo from last February, the Sme daily wrote on December 5. While Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák informed that the ministry paid a total of €32,000 on the contracts, independent MP Miroslav Beblavý published the information that the eight contracts the ministry closed with the artists cost €46,000.

Beblavý saw the contracts during the visit of the parliamentary foreign affairs’s committee to the ministry. The ministry insists that the difference stems from the taxes and payroll taxes that the ministry paid and that its data represents the net remuneration, which minister Lajčák defined clearly as net payments to the artists. Experts addressed by Sme said, however, that even when payroll taxes and taxes are added, the numbers are still not accurate.

Read also:Surveillance bodies and MPs to look into Hlávková's allegations

Moreover, the taxes and levies to be subtracted from the gross remuneration are not as big as in other cases.

Beblavý opined that the differences are the true reason why the Foreign Ministry refuses to make contracts public.

Moreover, the ministry also blacked out the precise amounts paid to specific artists, citing the law on publishing information and the copyright law. This claim has been disproven, however, by Transparency International Slovensko – which claims that ministry violated the law on free access to information – and the analysis of laywer Peter Wilfling who cooperates with the Via Iuris civic association and who is an expert on laws regarding information.

Th bottom line is that it is still not clear how much has the ministry paid for the presentation of the logo and other events connected with the EU presidency, Sme wrote, adding that the MPs’ investigation at the ministry has not ended yet, with MPs having asked for more contracts and other documents, including the one called referátnik, an internal report on the market survey, on who was addressed and how, what the bids of other agencies were, why the specific winner was selected, and who decided on it – as well as on the setting and assessment of the order’s price.

Read also:Ex-employee points to overpriced presidency-related orders

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Topic: Corruption & scandals


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