Foreign Ministry refuses to show presidency documents

Transparency International Slovensko accuses the ministry of “arrogant tactics of violating the law”.

Foreign Minister Minister LajčákForeign Minister Minister Lajčák (Source: TASR)

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has turned down the request of ethics watchdog Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) to show documents concerning suspicious orders linked to Slovakia’s presidency of the EU Council.

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The ministry claimed that similar demands influence the ability of the ministry to fulfill its basic tasks and that the non-governmental institution is using obstructive methods.

TIS claims that the ministry continues in “arrogant tactics of violating the law”, as it wrote on a social network.

The watchdog demands information in connection to the allegations raised by former ministry staffer Zuzana Hlávková, who together with TIS, described in a blog post how her department was under pressure to change original projects concerning the presidency, including a significant increase in costs, after the new media advisor, Zuzana Ťapáková, became active at the ministry.

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“It will not give us the information because the inspection or the Public Procurement Office or the Supreme Audit Office has started, though it had claimed it cannot show us the survey and agreements as it does not have the approval of companies and artists,” TIS wrote in its Facebook status.

In practice this would mean that TIS cannot sue them for some six months due to the ongoing inspection.

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Another argument the ministry used was that they cannot show them the reports from internal meetings on orders linked with the presidency since this would exhaust the ministry employees and they would not be able to fulfill their ordinary agenda. TIS however responded that it is the ministry that violates the law and does not allow the public to receive basic information on the usage of their taxes.

TIS meanwhile reminded of the call on Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák to provide all respective documents to the public. It has already been signed by more than 5,500 people.

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