President Inks Competency Act, Boosting Pellegrini’s Powers

Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, May 3 (TASR) – Vice-premier for Investments Peter Pellegrini will be given new powers for governing, coordinating and supervising EU Funds and will become the head of a new body responsible for Brussels’s Informatisation of Society programme in Slovakia, according to the new Competency Act that was signed by President Andrej Kiska on Tuesday.

The legislation was debated in fast-track proceedings and will take effect as of June 1.

Pellegrini will obtain boosted powers within a newly created central state administration body. The new legislation also makes it possible on a temporary basis for three state secretaries to serve at a ministry concurrently if one of them is given the sole task of dealing with matters related to Slovakia’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU.

According to the new law, the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry’s powers concerning the provision of subsidies in the field of human rights should be transferred to the Justice Ministry.

Fast-track proceedings for the Competency Act were criticised in a debate by several Opposition MPs. In their opinion, the amendment doesn’t meet the necessary conditions for fast-tracked proceedings, which should only be applied under extraordinary circumstances, such as a threat to basic human rights, freedoms or safety or if the country is in danger of significant economic damage.

Ondrej Dostal (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS) submitted two amending proposals to the new law, but neither made it through the House. In one of the proposals Dostal stated that the post of third state secretary at the Finance Ministry should cease to exist no more than two months after the end of Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.