Coalition to Stick to Government Manifesto on R2 Expressway

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SNS chairman Andrej Danko (L), Smer leader Robert Fico (C) and Most-Hid head Bela Bugar (R)

Bratislava, August 3 (TASR) – The construction of the R2 expressway from Zvolen (Banska Bystrica region) in the direction of Kosice will continue as set out in the Government Manifesto, the leaders of the three coalition parties agreed on Thursday.

“We’ve made clear our adherence to making good on the commitment enacted in the Government Manifesto to carry on with the construction of the R2 from Zvolen in the direction of Kosice,” said Prime Minister and Smer-SD leader Robert Fico after talks with Slovak National Party (SNS) leader and Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko and Most-Hid chairman Bela Bugar.

Fico was dismissive of a preliminary opinion of the Finance Ministry’s Value for Money unit, which advised against continuing to build the R2 expressway as planned and suggested expanding some sections of an existing road instead. “I couldn’t care less what some clerk thinks,” he said.

“It’s made clear in the Government Manifesto, and it’s the duty of all of us who hold some sway over it to make decisions that will deliver on this commitment,” said Fico.

He added that he expects Transport and Construction Minister Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid) to prepare decisions in this vein and to ensure that the R2 continues to be built as set out in the Government Manifesto.

Bugar reaffirmed the Coalition’s pledge not to slacken its pace with or halt altogether the building of the R2.

“It appears that a tender may be launched by the end of this year for another R2 section from Lovinobana to Mytna (Banska Bystrica region),” said Bugar. Subject to the availability of funds, tenders for an additional three stretches may then be launched next year, including one involving the Soroska tunnel.

“It’s clearly in the minister’s hands,” said Bugar. Ersek may give thought to the opinions of others, but the public needs to know that the Government is committed to adopting measures conducive to reducing the unemployment rate, he said. Reducing the unemployment rate is preconditioned by fresh investments and, to this end, a road network needs to be built.

Danko also pledged the Government’s commitment to completing the R2 expressway.
“I’ve been saying all along that infrastructure is one of Slovakia’s key priorities, and I’m happy that we’re on the same page in that we won’t let clerical decisions stand in the way of investments,” said Danko, who even said that he’d personally pursue a bolder approach and take out credit needed to bankroll investments in this sphere.