Former economy and agriculture minister and current Smer MP Ľubomír Jahnátek will take over the helm of the Regulatory Authority for Network Industries (ÚRSO) after the government approved the proposal by the Economy Ministry on July 24. Prime Minister Robert Fico will appoint Jahnátek officially into the post on Tuesday, July 25.
“I need a strong regulatory framework here in Slovakia,” said Fico. “The Office is important, has its powers and I expect the new chairman of the Regulatory Office for Network Industries to duly use this strong regulatory framework.”
The MP and former minister Jahnátek was recommended for the post by a selection committee based on a selection procedure. After the committee made the decision, Jahnátek stated he intended to open the regulator to the public. In his opinion, the setting of regulatory rules in network industries for a few years in advance to ensure predictability of energy prices is important.
Jahnátek’s appointment is in line with the new rules governing the procedure whereby an approval by President Andrej Kiska is no longer needed.
The opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party considers it unacceptable that the independent regulator will be chaired by a politician who is a pawn in the hands of Robert Fico. The movement, Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) says that Jahnátek’s appointment is a scandal, a display of arrogance by the incumbent ruling coalition and a mockery of decent people.
Opposition parties have said that Jahnátek has no business being ÚRSO chairman because of what they see as his political links and his failure to meet the formal statutory requirements. However, both Jahnátek and PM Fico have dismissed such statements about alleged political affiliations, claiming instead that Jahnátek is an expert in the area and his nomination was proposed by the Association of Employers Unions (AZZZ).