Representatives of a broad coalition of domestic and foreign employers in Slovakia belonging to the Rule of Law Initiative on Tuesday warned that Slovakia in recent years has seen a downward trend in global indices and indicators, including recommendations of the European Commission, OECD statistics, the World Economic Forum's Competitiveness Index and the Rule of Law Index.
According to them, the country is stuck in a middle-income trap with an economic model and growth insufficient to continue economic convergence to at least the EU average.
The employers voiced this opinion at an expert election debate with representatives of political parties that was organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia (AmCham) in cooperation with partners. In this vein, they presented 7 plus 7 measures for positive change in the areas of rule of law and human capital. At the same time, they called on politicians to take these proposals into account in the functioning of the next government.
The representatives agreed that quality and professionalism in public administration, minimising the number of bills adopted via fast-track proceedings, limiting the number of bills submitted by individual MPs, reducing excessive regulatory and administrative burdens and restoring confidence in the performance of independent oversight institutions are crucial for the stability of the business environment. Frequent changes in key posts that are subject to political nominations have, in their view, had a negative impact on the quality of the activities of central government bodies, public administration and the functioning of state-owned enterprises.
"We are asking representatives of political parties to commit themselves to the rules for adopting rules that apply to all of us. If we want to be an attractive country with a high standard of living and a stable business environment, it is in the vital interests of the Slovak Republic that norms are adopted via standard procedure, without speeding up and circumventing a relevant debate on their content and impact," said Martin Magal, a coordinator of the Rule of Law Initiative.
The business community has also called for the restoration of Slovakia's position in global competition, which, according to the employers, requires a dramatic change in economic policy settings and the manner in which the country is governed. Responsible governments should invest in research, development, the skills of future generations and better jobs, define an ambitious vision of the state supported by social consensus and apply innovative regulation based on the principles of simplicity, clarity, transparency and flexibility, they said.