While Slovakia’s economy booms, it makes no progress in fighting corruption

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While Slovakia’s economy booms, it makes no progress in fighting corruption

08. 03. 2018 14:11

Slovakia is presently experiencing rapid growth with analysts stating that the driving force has not only been domestic consumption but also net exports. According to TASR, figures released by the Statistics Office showed that the Slovak economy grew by as much as 3.5 percent in the final quarter of 2017. Slovenská sporiteľňa analyst Katarina Muchová said that exports grew by 5.7 percent year-on-year in the same quarter, with imports increasing by 3.3 percent. "Household consumption is being helped especially by a strong labour market, which is also positively reflected in consumer confidence as well as low interest rates anchored at record low levels, helping to reduce the inclination of households to save," added UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia analyst Ľubomír Koršňák.

It's not all good news, however. Despite reassuring sounds from the government, the European Commission's latest report on Slovakia states matter-of-factly that the country has made no visible progress in the fight against corruption over the entire past year.

"So far, we can see that there's no change in the perception of corruption among people, while the real physical capacity of the Special Prosecutor's Office to deal with corruption cases has decreased, although the number under criminal prosecution has declined. This leads to the assessment that there's been no visible progress. We'll see whether the measures adopted by the Government will have any effect on next year's assessment," said Ladislav Miko, head of the European Commission's Representation to Slovakia.

According to the report, the European Commission is concerned about the level of dependence that the chief of police and police inspections have on the interior minister. At the same time, it advises an improvement in the protection afforded to those who report corruption. Conversely, however, it positively perceives the involvement of non-governmental organisations in monitoring corruption. The findings in the report are confirmed by a Eurobarometer survey, which shows that the perception of corruption in some areas in Slovakia remains exceptionally high. These include, for example, corruption in the healthcare sector, the police, the courts, the prosecutor's office and the education sector.

Gavin Shoebridge Foto: TASR

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