Slovakian Groups Press Reforms to Access Law

11 February 2016

Proposals to strengthen the right to information law in Slovakia have been endorsed by 11 of the 12 political parties, but not the ruling Smer party, the SITA newswire has reported and described (in Slovak) by one of the sponsors.

Ten reform proposals were made by three non-governmental organizations, the Transparency International Slovensko (TIS), the Fair-Play Alliance (AFP) and the INEKO think tank.

The groups proposed that companies fully owned by the state or municipalities should be subject to the access law. Salaries and resumes of state nominees should be made public, the groups said.

Agreements signed by the state and municipalities should be published at one place and the state should start to systematically connect the databases about public procurement, founding and ownership of companies, EU funds and owners of property, the NGOs said.

The parties which promised to adopt the proposals include Sieť, the Christian Democratic Movement, the Slovak National party, Most-Híd, the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities, NOVA, Freedom and Solidarity, Šanca, the Party of Hungarian Community, and Tip.

Smer refused the pledge, saying that AFP and INEKO are deliberately harming the party in the pre-election term. Yet it considers many proposals beneficial and will try to adopt them in the next election term. The party, however, failed to specify them, the NGOs claimed, reported SITA.

The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) was the last to endorse the proposals, preferring to publish the salaries of state nominees only selectively. SDKÚ would allow the ombudswoman to supervise the observation of the information law. Sieť “would not accept the introduction of mandatory publishing of criminal motions dismissed by the police,” the article says.

The Justice Ministry led by Tomáš Borec worked on proposed changes during his tenure, “but the government did not accept its proposal, on which also NGOs and the Association of Towns and Villages of Slovakia agreed,” SITA wrote.

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