Fico Meets Rule of Law Initiative to Discuss Progress So Far

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Prime Minister Robert Fico in an older photo.

Bratislava, April 6 (TASR) – The Government will seek to stay away from adopting any indirect amendments while cutting down on national legislation that complicates the absorption of EU funding and transcends the EU’s requirements, TASR learnt on Thursday.

At the same time the Cabinet is ready to amend recently enacted legislation on letterbox businesses, heeding practical experience with its application so far.

This is according to an agreement that Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) made at a working lunch with representatives of businesses, employers and chambers of commerce belonging to the Rule of Law initiative. Also present were Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid) and other senior state representatives.

The officials met to take stock of an action plan that the previous Fico-led government adopted in 2015, taking its cue from the initiative. Fico stated that 12 out of 13 tasks laid out in the action plan have been fulfilled.

Also discussed was future collaboration between the Government and the initiative.

“I welcome this platform, I’ve never turned my back on it. Instead, I’ve been very cooperative and want to continue to act in that way,” said the premier, who has agreed to another meeting with the initiative.

Next time round, plans drawn up on Thursday will be reviewed, while updates on legislation governing public procurements, the Commercial Code and the law on letterbox companies will be provided.

The initiative’s representatives voiced their reservations towards to the action plan and provided ideas to add to it.

“We can state that the dialogue with the Government is lively indeed,” said Gabriel Galgoci of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), who embraced Fico’s and the Government’s interest in further dialogue and in improving the business environment in Slovakia.

The initiative deals with three areas – the transparency and predictability of the legislative process, corruption, and a transparent and effective judiciary.

Fico also urged employers to boost their engagement in the legislative process further, including in the pieces of legislation discussed at the meeting. “We need to realise that practical experience provides perspectives that may make us examine the law again,” said Fico.

As regards corruption, Fico welcomed the initiative’s interest in ensuring that planned legislation on the protection of whistleblowers also boosts the protection of businesses in reporting such conduct.

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