Fico: Government Manifesto Has Four Main Priorities

A Government session. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 13 (TASR) – The Manifesto approved by Government on Wednesday puts accent on four broad priorities, including the fight against unemployment, regional disparities and corruption, and introduction of policies ushering in a functioning state, Premier Robert Fico told a press conference later in the day.

Fico at the same time announced that the Manifesto will be up for debate to Parliament on Monday (April 18).

“It’s especially the fight against unemployment which contains ambitious goals that have been embraced by the new governing coalition. There’s a goal to create 100,000 new jobs and squeeze the unemployment rate under 10 percent. These objectives are ambitious, but also absolutely realistic. I also welcome the fact that we’ve agreed on introducing stricter conditions for those who do not want to work, avoid opportunities to find jobs and rely on the social system of our country instead,” said the prime minister.

The second broad priority concerns regional disparities, according to Fico. “It is true that we’ll continue implementing the law of the least developed districts adopted as of November 1, 2015. We’ve planned five away-from-home sessions for the Government by mid-August, when we want to approve the remaining 11 action plans for the least developed districts. The coalition partners – Smer-SD, SNS, Most-Hid and Siet/Network – want to extend the scope of this law to other districts, too,” he said, adding that the Cabinet on Wednesday also appointed a proxy for implementing the aforementioned law.

Also, the four-member governing coalition has pledged to narrow the scope for corruption and non-transparent behavior. “We’re interested in adopting an even more efficient law on letterbox companies. Furthermore, we’ve committed to transmit the entire Rule of Law initiative as presented by employers into the Manifesto and into an action plan. We want to consistently apply the principles of open government – with the Government becoming even more open to public scrutiny and public access to information,” announced Fico.

“Although we don’t have a constitutional majority, we want to return to the legislation on proving the origin of one’s property with a view toward adopting a new constitutional law, thereby breaking down the barriers set up by the Constitutional Court in its earlier decision. Furthermore, we want to focus on the receiving and providing of unethical benefits, as well as on material accountability of people dealing with public resources. We’ll extend the system of mandatory publication of contracts, we’ll introduce anti-corruption clauses into drafts of individual laws, while the process of introducing more professionals into the state administration and defining the scope for political nominations will also continue,” he underlined.

The fourth area is a functioning state. “Here we’ve focused mainly on education and health care. And, as we’re building on excellent economic and financial results of this country, I hereby announce that we have the ambition to put a total of €2 billion more into the Slovak education system in 2016-20,” reported prime minister.

According to Fico, the first moves of new Health Minister Tomas Drucker have confirmed his trust in him. “The minister has my full support and a green light for adopting any measures in order to make certain processes in Slovak health care healthier,” said Fico. At the same time the media image of health care doesn’t reflect upon the reality because a “huge amount of work” has already been done in this sector, said Fico.