President's New Year Speech: Changes Needed in 2020

President's New Year Speech: Changes Needed in 2020

Bratislava, January 1 (TASR) – Slovak President Zuzana Caputova in her New Year speech called for change, emphasising that specific steps need to be taken in 2020.

Caputova stressed the need to complete changes in health care, the need to take care of seniors and for reasonable investments in education. According to her, the deficiencies in the rule of law must be eliminated. She emphasised the need for trust and solidarity, criticising rudeness and manipulation in public debate.

She called on people to vote in the general election in February. “In less than two months, on the day when the voter is king again, who and to what extent they will represent the public in the legislature will be decided. Let’s use this great opportunity and, please, let’s go to the polls,” stated the president.

Caputova called on the public to make the new year one of chances and opportunities. “Let’s eliminate the diseases of a young democracy in the form of deficiencies in the rule of law, and let’s make full use of the potential that our Slovakia has, jointly, working together, with a variety of opinions and attitudes, with respect for truth and humanity,” she stated.

According to her, changes in the health-care sector must be completed in order to reduce the number of avoidable deaths. She also pointed to the need to ensure that there will be enough doctors and nurses and conditions that patients can trust.

In connection with the ageing population, she pointed to the need to build a solid system of long-term care for the elderly. According to her, it’s necessary to focus on addressing generational poverty and the housing shortage. She also stressed climate commitments and the importance of protecting forests, nature and air quality.

Caputova pointed out that Slovakia needs reasonable investments in education. “The power of ideas, innovations with which we can compete with the world, isn’t dependent on the number of inhabitants. However, it certainly does depend on sensible investment in education, science and research,” she stressed.

The president also pointed to several scandals, underlining the importance of enforcing the law, legal certainty and equality before the law. She stressed the need to strengthen the independence and accountability of the police, prosecution service and courts.

All these and other challenges can’t be resolved in a single year, some not even in a single electoral term. “However, they all require us to take specific and realistic steps towards change in 2020,” she said.

Caputova criticised rudeness, vulgarity and manipulation in public debate. She called for a sense of belonging and solidarity and pointed to cases of violence and the issue of national minorities in Slovakia. According to her, by integrating people living on the margins or in need, it will be possible to create a socially and economically more prosperous Slovakia.

Despite the various scandals and individual failures, Caputova urged the public not to lose confidence in the police, prosecution service, courts, hospitals, firefighters or officials. “Many of them did a lot of good work last year; some of them were brave, others even heroic,” she said. Likewise, it would be wrong to lose confidence in politicians because not all of them are unworthy. “Let’s not be poisoned by lies and hatred,” she stressed.