The Recovery Plan is not just about the short-term benefits that immediately impact people, but it is about creating an environment that will benefit Slovakia in the long run, says Lívia Vašáková, who leads the reform team at the Government’s Office.
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If reforms are implemented as planned, entrepreneurs can expect better access to justice and skilled workforce more willing to stay or come to work in Slovakia. The ambitious reforms are facing one major risk: the stability of the political environment may hinder the country’s ability to implement the reforms and subsequently the country’s access to the funds from the EU.
TSS: Slovakia has had problems and insufficiencies in drawing EU funds. What will be different this time?
LV: We don’t even want to talk about drawing funds. That’s the rhetoric concerning EU funds and it is based on the primary aim of getting hold of money from the EU coffers. But our primary aim is to improve Slovakia, kick off the convergence process again and direct it towards the most successful countries and the EU average. These are the main motivations behind the Recovery Plan. The plan is a series of reforms and investments divided into milestones and targets.
is the head of the Recovery Plan section at the Government’s Office. She previously served as the head of economic analyses section at the European Commission Representation in Slovakia, and before that at the Commission’s directorate general for energy in Brussels.
TSS: What are the milestones and what are the targets?
LV: A milestone is a qualitative achievement, while a target is a quantitative achievement most of the time. That means there are clear indicators to measure whether we have managed to improve the country and the quality of life of our citizens. From my viewpoint it is only secondary that we will get money for it, though money may be a key element in setting up the motivation of the main stakeholders.
TSS: So you will not measure the success of the plan by the amount of money that will enter Slovakia?
LV: If we manage to do what we wrote in the plan, it will be just as beneficial for the country as if we spend all the money. At the same time, it is legally binding that as soon as we meet our goals, we will receive the money from Brussels.
TSS: You said that the implementation of the plan will be the main challenge, and as part of that you’re facing a lack of people with the skills and experience to implement the plan in Slovakia. How big is this problem and how does it affect your work?