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Slovakian report
by Euro Reporter
2014-02-07 10:45:16
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EC report highlights corruption in Slovakia

The independence of the judiciary, prosecution of corruption, financing of political parties, the use of EU funds and public procurement are the key areas for Slovakia to focus on when tackling corruption, according to a recently published Anti-Corruption report of the European Commission (EC). As for the perception of corruption, 90 percent of Slovaks believe corruption is widespread in their country, while 53 percent believe that the level of corruption has increased over the past three years. The most troubled areas in that respect are health care (mentioned by 64 percent of Slovaks), courts (56 percent), and political parties (51 percent), said Andrej Králik from the press department of the EC Representation in Slovakia.

slovakia_400“The interesting trend is that in the personal perception of corruption,” Králik wrote, noting that 40 percent of Slovaks believe corruption influences their daily personal lives, which is 14 percent less than in 2011.  Even though Slovakia has made considerable efforts to improve the legal anti-corruption framework for criminal law and public procurement, several factors still limit the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts, the EC stated in the report summary. Those factors are mainly problems with legislation, the perceived lack of independence of the judiciary and close ties between politicians and businesses.

The EC suggests that Slovakia strengthen the independence of the judiciary, in particular by specifying criteria for when presidents and vice-presidents of courts can be removed from office. The EC also suggests increasing the transparency of party funding at local and regional levels. When it comes to the misuse of EU funds, the EC recommends strengthening control mechanisms to prevent conflicts of interest. The report, published on February 3, is the first of its kind, and is aimed at supporting anti-corruption efforts in EU member states, and identifying how the European system can help. The report is based on data from existing anti-corruption monitoring mechanisms (GRECO, OECD, UNCAC), as well as information from EU countries’ public authorities, civil society, independent experts and academic research.


Slovakia earmarks 10 mln euros to aid young people to start businesses

Slovakia will provide 10 million euros (13.52 million U.S. dollars) to help hundreds of people under the age 25 to support their enterprises, local newspaper reported Tuesday. The fund was provided by the national program called "Securities for the youth in Slovakia", reported by local daily Hospodarske Noviny.

Created by the Department of Employment, Social Affairs and Family of Slovak Republic, the program aims mainly to support for the youth employment.  The program is focused on youth under 25 years of age. The funds have been allocated by the European Union's program "Youth Employment Initiative".

"Our main goal is to support existing jobs for the youth, youth prequalification and further qualification processes and to help the youth through employment practice, or internships," the Department of Employment, Social Affairs and Family was quoted as saying.  Matej Ftacnik from The Spot organization, which helps start-ups in Slovakia, said that analysis of data has shown that 80 percent of supported projects have been in a 5 year period, fully integrated in the job market and had a reasonably high income.


Slovakia has difficulty integrating foreigners

Slovakia has a comparatively low number of foreign nationals living in its territory, with just over 25,500 foreigners currently legally residing in the country. The draft integration policy, discussed by the cabinet at its January 28 session, has deemed that efforts to integrate these foreigners into the country have been poor, the SITA newswire reported.

The draft policy identifies some of the key problems in this area: foreigners lack adequate information that would make integration easier, public offices have difficulty communicating with foreigners who do not speak Slovak and foreigners encounter prejudice, fear and stereotypes from Slovak citizens.

The document proposes to establish a special committee for the rights of foreigners living in Slovakia at the government’s Human Rights Council, the TASR newswire reported. The proposals also include specific steps such as creating standardised Slovak language courses and foreign language courses for Slovaks whose jobs involve interacting with foreigners. According to the document, by June 30, 2013 most foreigners living in Slovakia will have come from neighbouring countries, with over 9,000 Czechs, 6,600 Hungarians, 6,400 Ukrainians, 5,900 Romanians, 4,800 Poles, and 3,700 Serbians. Other major groups include Russians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Koreans and Americans.


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