CZ/SK verze

Progressive Slovakia Criticizes Transport Minister Ráž's Investment Plans

Progressive Slovakia Criticizes Transport Minister Ráž's Investment Plans
photo: / Public domain/Ján Hargaš
30 / 01 / 2024

Based on recent events, when one media outlet stated, "Representatives of the opposition movement Progressive Slovakia (PS) criticize the draft law on strategic investments, and they are already bothered by the fact that Slovakia will finally be able to build motorways and railways faster," the railway magazine RAILTARGET asked the opposition party for their opinion.

The Progressives reported that the government of Robert Fico continues to destroy the basic pillars of the rule of law. It warns Slovakia against the upcoming changes in public procurement. An amendment to the Public Procurement Act is currently being prepared. The chairman of the PS party, Michal Šimečka, said that the Fico government is preparing radical changes that will create room for non-transparency, clientelism, and corruption.

"The coalition wants to abolish the second-tier power of the chairman of the Office to decide on objections and wants to gain the ability to dismiss any of its vice-chairmen without giving a reason. And they are going to completely distort the institutional independence of the body by allocating a deputy chairmanship for strategic investments, which is appointed by the government on the proposal of the transport minister," said Jan Hargaš, a member of the National Assembly of the Slovak Republic. He added that with the prolonged amendment, the government will open up opportunities to award public contracts without a proper tendering process.

"Construction contracts up to EUR 3 million will now be able to be awarded directly, by addressing a single bidder in a closed state or private system - without public scrutiny," the MP pointed out.

And what did the media write?

According to Transport Minister Jozef Ráž Jr., the law with which Progressive Slovakia disagrees should also help simplify the permitting process by modifying the Construction Act. Progressives have criticized the draft law on strategic investments, saying the changes may infringe on property rights. They also don't like the fact that there hasn't been a proper professional debate. The opposition party is asking the minister to withdraw and rework the draft.

Michal Sabo, a PS MP, said that they had listened to the minister's statement and that he was prepared to discount it. "So we will allow ourselves a question. Since when have laws been made to bargain for any concessions? We therefore request the Minister that this Bill from his Ministry be withdrawn, reworked, and tabled in the ordinary legislative process," Sabo explained.