Fico Proposes Paying Invoices for Renovating Dorms until End of 2018

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Former prime minister Robert Fico. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 5 (TASR) – Every single invoice submitted by rectors and students for the reconstruction of university halls of residence until December 31, 2018 will be settled, said Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) at a press conference at the Finance Ministry on Monday after an allocation of €10 million for such work became a target of criticism.

“I regret that a helping-hand policy is being rejected. Only after we went through a serious economic crisis, after we consolidated public finances, did we come up with a proposal to help university dorms,” said Fico. He noted that the Government Manifesto stated that the Government would create a financial scheme to fund the pressing need for reconstructing university buildings and accommodation facilities with transparent criteria. “We offered to start at first with €10 million in the first half and continue with another €10 million in the second. We’re also planning to launch a special programme for thermally insulating public buildings. I regret that this offer is being rejected,” he said.

Fico stated at the same time that every single invoice submitted by rectors and students until December 31, 2018 for reconstructing university halls of residence will be settled. “I propose to rectors a meeting on New Year’s Eve, on December 31, to carry out a joint inventory of how it all ended up,” he added.

Chairman of the Student Council of Universities Balint Lovasz told TASR last week that allocating €10 million for reconstructing university halls of residence and possibly another €10 million later this year is not what Fico promised in 2015. Instead, it’s a poor patchwork solution for the alarming state of university dorms in Slovakia. Rectors of universities in Kosice welcomed the reraising of the issue of university dorm reconstruction, but they also pointed out that more money is needed for this than was originally announced. The Slovak Rectors Conference noted that their estimates in 2016 concerning the reconstruction of accommodation facilities for university students amounted to roughly €300 million.