EC: Focus on education and labour market

Some recommendations remain the same as last year.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

Continue consolidating its public finances, intensify its fight against long-term unemployment, improve the situation in the education sector and deal with corruption and slow courts, were amongst the recommendations for Slovakia issued by the European Commission on May 22.

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Similarly to last year, the EC pointed to the low effectiveness of health-care expenditures, while the recommendations for long-term unemployment and education remain the same, the SITA newswire reported.

Though the recently published EC’s spring forecast confirmed that the macro-economic situation of Slovakia is good, it does not mean that the country should slow down in its reform efforts, the EC wrote.

As for public finances, the EC recommends that Slovakia pursue its fiscal policy in line with the requirements of the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. The country should also improve the cost effectiveness of the health-care system, for example by implementing the Value for Money project.

Read also: EC spring forecast indicates continuing economic growth in Slovakia Read more 

The EC at the same time predicts that the public administration deficit will drop from 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent of GDP this year, and in 2018 it will fall to 0.6 percent, SITA reported.

Regarding the labour market, the EC recommends that the country improve activation measures for disadvantaged groups, including the implementation of the action plan for the long-term unemployed and by providing individualised services and targeted training.

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“Enhance employment opportunities for women, especially by extending affordable, quality childcare,” the EC recommendations read. “Improve the quality of education and increase the participation of Roma in inclusive mainstream education.”

Slovakia should also improve competition and transparency in public procurement operations and step up the fight against corruption by the stronger enforcement of existing legislation. The country should adopt and implement a comprehensive plan to lower administrative and regulatory barriers for businesses.

The EC also recommends improvement in the effectiveness of the justice system, including a reduction in the length of civil and commercial cases.

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