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Slovakian report Slovakian report
by Euro Reporter
2012-10-01 10:57:01
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Euro zone won't last in current form, will be smaller

The euro zone will not survive in its current form and one or possibly two countries will be forced to leave the currency bloc because they will be unable to meet their commitments, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Sunday. "I think the time will come when it will be clear that some countries are not able to deliver when it comes to fiscal consolidation and commitments and that one or maybe two countries will not be part of the euro zone in its current form," he told Slovak TV channel Markiza.

When asked if one of the countries that will be forced to leave was likely to be debt-crippled Greece he said: "Yes, Greece for example. I think that the euro zone will no longer function in its current form."

Fico said he believed that Greece was already struggling to satisfy demands from international lenders. "I think Greece is not meeting its commitments. It is asking for more and more exceptions, more time to deliver on commitments it has made, and it will be right for major euro zone countries to take a stance how to deal with Greece. If Greece is unable to meet its obligations there should be a coordinated exit."


Slovakia needs more austerity as tax receipts slow

Slovakia should collect 233 million Euros ($300 million) less in taxes next year, causing a need for more austerity as the eastern euro-area member seeks to trim the budget deficit, Finance Minister Peter Kazimir said. The revision, representing 0.3 percent of gross domestic product, was driven by worsening prospects for economic growth and lower-than-estimated corporate-tax receipts last year, Kazimir said at a press conference in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, today. In 2012, tax collection will fall 209 million Euros short of plan, the ministry projects.

Lower tax receipts jeopardize Premier Robert Fico’s efforts to bring the fiscal gap below the European Union’s limit of 3 percent of GDP as early as next year to halt contagion from the sovereign-debt crisis. The government will cut spending to make sure the euro-area member since 2009 will meet its fiscal goals “at any price,” Kazimir said.

The government has already adopted revenue-boosting measures worth 300 million Euros in 2012 and 1.2 billion Euros next year such as changes to the pension system and introduction of special levies for selected industries. The administration is working on legislation, which shall bring almost 500 million Euros more in 2013, mostly from higher income tax rates. The 2011 budget deficit will probably be revised to 5 percent of GDP, from 4.8 percent originally reported, Kazimir also said. The budget for this year targets the gap at 4.6 percent of GDP.


Slovakia begins war crimes probe

Slovak police said on Thursday that they had launched a war crimes investigation against the alleged Nazi-era war criminal Laszlo Csatary, recently detained in neighbouring Hungary. “Police in Kosice... began an investigation against Csatary for complicity in war crimes” in Slovakia, said Jana Mesarova, spokeswoman for the Kosice police in the country’s south-east.

The 97-year-old Csatary, who tops the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s dwindling wanted list of surviving suspected Nazi war criminals, allegedly organised the World War II deportation to their deaths of some 16,000 Jews from the ghetto of Kosice in present-day south-east Slovakia, which was then part of Hungary. A Kosice citizen, whose father was deported to Germany in January 1945, last month filed charges against Csatary for crimes against humanity. The charges include Csatary’s responsibility for deportations of Kosice citizens to Germany. Justice Minister Tomas Borec said earlier he wanted Csatary to be tried in Slovakia, echoing a similar call by the country’s Jewish community.

According to the justice ministry, a Slovak court would most likely give Csatary a life sentence. In 1948, a court in then-Czechoslovakia sentenced him to death in absentia but the death penalty has since been banned in Slovakia. Csatary, whose full name is Laszlo Csizsik-Csatary, helped run the Jewish ghetto in Kosice, a town that was visited in April 1944 by Adolf Eichmann, a key figure in the Nazis’ final solution, the Wiesenthal Center says. While there between 1941 and 1944, Csatary beat and brutalized Jews and sent 16,000 to their deaths in Ukraine and to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp, the centre said. Currently under house arrest in Budapest, Csatary was arrested on July 18 in the Hungarian capital on information from the Wiesenthal Center. He had fled to Canada after the war but apparently lived undisturbed in Hungary for about 15 years before he was arrested.

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