When asked what’s happening with his plan to become the Constitutional Court chair in a discussion programme for the news channel TA3 V politike (In Politics) on Sunday, February 18, Prime Minister and chairman of the ruling Smer party, Robert Fico, said that his ambition is to win another parliamentary election, the next to be held in 2020.
“I have a clear ambition, namely to win a general election for the fifth time and set up a fourth government,” said Fico, as cited by the TASR newswire. “Smer is the most successful political project in Slovakia. No one has won four elections in a row. I’d like to beat this record. So, my ambition is to win another election in 2020 with a result that will entitle us to form another government.”
Fico refuted rumours about his plan to run for the post of judge of the Constitutional Court and called them, as well as his move to a position in the EU, speculations.
“I want to stay here, and I don’t want to go anywhere else,” said Fico.
Higher minimum wage and reduction of VAT
The PM reiterated that he’d like to see rapid growth in the minimum wage. Around 60,000-70,000 people currently receive the minimum wage.
“We should do our utmost to see that it will gradually reach 60 percent of the average salary,” said Fico. “Our goal is to get to €600 [per month] in a few years.”
It is estimated that the average monthly wage in Slovakia will exceed €1,000 in 2018.
Smer insists that the minimum wage should grow, as there’s a need to distinguish between those who work and those who don’t, said the prime minister.
“Growth in the minimum wage pushes for growth in other salaries as well,” said Fico. “And I’ll do my best to have this enacted in the Constitution. We want to protect and increase it in this way. Therefore, we’ll make an attempt to enact the minimum wage as such in the Constitution.”
These measures would be part of another social package. The Smer party announced its preparation after parliament amended the Labour Code and increased surcharges for work during nights, weekends and holidays as well as introducing 13th and 14th salaries partly exempt of income and payroll taxes.
Other measures such as increases in the salaries of civil and public servants in 2019 and 2020, help for pensioners and a reduction in VAT on nappies, babies’ milk and food will be included in the Government's second social package.
Fico also promises changes in education.
“Let’s make grammar schools into something of a luxury, so that they’ll be attended only by students with the best grades,” said Fico, adding that 63 percent of secondary school-leavers have qualifications that the state doesn’t need. “Conversely, let’s make secondary vocational schools more attractive. If regional governments, as the founders of secondary schools, fail to do anything about it, if they don’t change the structure of education, the state will step in and make a decision stemming from its powers.”
20. Feb 2018 at 1:28 | Compiled by Spectator staff