Independent MPs Want to Scrap VUCs in 2017 with No Replacement

Independent MPs Katarina Machackova and Miroslav Beblavy (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, January 12 (TASR) – Independent MPs Katarina Machackova and Miroslav Beblavy have submitted for the next parliamentary session proposals for legislation that would scrap Slovakia’s eight self-governing regions (VUCs) as early as in 2017 without any replacement, TASR learnt on Thursday.

The two MPs proposed amending 28 laws in total, including an amendment to the Constitution and amendments to constitutional laws.

In line with the proposed bills, the regional elections scheduled to take place this autumn would be cancelled. According to Machackova, by scrapping the eight regions the state would save more than €200 million in the following five years.

The Opposition MP further stated that after 15 years of existence VUCs have failed to meet any of their key objectives. “One was to reduce regional disparities. However, these have either been maintained or deepened. An objective concerning more effective management of public administration hasn’t been achieved either. The number of VUC employees has increased, and the regions’ debts have gone up from zero to €370 million,” said Machackova at a press conference.

Beblavy stated that the powers that come under the regions should be redistributed among towns and villages on one hand and the state on the other. Towns and villages should take over education and social and cultural facilities, especially those with a local character. Conversely, the state should take over the roads that come under VUCs at the moment, along with land planning, bus services and hospitals.

According to Beblavy, the VUCs’ share of income tax should be redistributed among municipalities and the state so that towns and villages would receive 88 percent of the revenues and the state 12 percent.

The Independent MP is aware of the fact that he needs the votes of at least 90 MPs for his proposal to be approved. “Parties representing 85 MPs in total have expressed their wish to scrap the regions,” said Beblavy, mentioning representatives of Smer-SD, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), We Are Family-Boris Kollar and four Independent MPs around Beblavy. “So we’re not far from a constitutional majority,” he added.

VUCs were created in 2001 under Mikulas Dzurinda’s first government (1998-2002). Before that Slovakia was divided into three regions.