The transfer of state land, in the first two national parks to see a reorganisation of the zones within their territory completed, will not take place until April 1, 2022. This according to Environment Minister Jan Budaj (OLaNO) and Agriculture Minister Samuel Vlcan (an OLaNO nominee), speaking on Monday prior to the signing of a memorandum on mutual relations. The long-awaited reform of national parks was originally meant to begin in January of next year.
The announcement came following the objections of Parliamentary Chair Boris Kollar, who earlier had informed that his Sme Rodina party would not support the reform in its original form. He mentioned, among other things, missing details on changes to the zoning system, and on how the state is to secure the transfer to state-owned lands under the management of the State Nature Protection Authority (SOP). According to the daily Slovak Spectator, the decision surprised several representatives of the ruling coalition, including PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO). He said last weekend that if a certain line is crossed, he will no longer tolerate Kollár’s behaviour. The reason for this is that he has objected to three big reforms presented by the coalition – besides national parks, the party objects to the planned reforms both of hospitals and courts.
By April 1 next year, state land in the Slovak Paradise and Pieniny National Parks should be transferred to the State Nature Protection Authority. In other national parks, the transfers should only cover areas with the strictest fourth and fifth levels of protection. Meanwhile, a reorganisation of zones within the remaining seven national parks will begin. "I believe that the reorganisation of the zones will be finished by the end of next year, when this process should be completed, and as far as state property in national parks is concerned, it should be transferred to State Nature Protection, or the Environment Ministry," said Budaj. He is convinced that the memorandum will also help to ensure that the reform of national parks will be approved. "I believe that we've covered all the objections that Parliamentary Chair Boris Kollar had, and responses to them are also incorporated in the memorandum," stated Budaj.