Legislative and Policy Update: February 2017



SLOVAK REPUBLIC


EUROPEAN UNION

 BANKRUPTCY: On February 15, 2017 the Cabinet approved an amendment to the Law on Bankruptcy and Restructuring which will allow debtors who will use the institute of personal bankruptcy to keep 10,000 EUR, a so-called “untouchable” value of housing. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk 15/02/2017)

 

BUDGET: According to the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, surplus of the state budget for January 2017 was 92.3 million EUR. Revenues of the state budget in January 2017 were 1.078 billion EUR and increased by 18.4% year-on-year, while expenditures increased by 9.3% to 985.5 million EUR. The overall approved budget for 2017 envisages revenues of 15.39 billion EUR, expenditures of 17.383 billion EUR and a deficit of 1.993 billion EUR. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 01/02/2017)

 

BUSINESS: According to the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, only 46.9% of statutory representatives of Slovak companies have electronic identity cards with a chip and a security code. Further 18.3% of the statutories have the electronic ID card, but have not yet activated it. Around 35% of statutory representatives do not have an electronic identity card. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 01/02/2017)

 

ECONOMY: According to the National Bank of Slovakia, unemployment rate will reach 8.8% in 2017. The estimated growth of real wages is 2.9%. The GDP growth prognosis remained unchanged. The Slovak economy is expected to expand at 3.1% in 2017, 4.2% in 2018, and 4.6% in 2019. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 01/02/2017)

 

ECONOMY: According to the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, the Slovak economy will grow to 3.3% in 2017. Subsequently in 2018, the growth rate of the Slovak economy should accelerate to 4%. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 07/02/2017)

 

ECONOMY: According to the report on Slovakia prepared by the European Commission, Slovakia has made a little progress in the areas of judiciary and corruption. Also, there is no progress in the field of removing regulation and administrative barriers to doing business. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 23/02/2017)

 

ECONOMY: On February 1, 2017 the Cabinet took into concideration the Report on the implementation of support schemes for the return of experts from abroad. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk 01/02/2017)

 

EDUCATION: The Slovak University of Technology became a member of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology in the field of raw materials EIT Raw Materials. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 02/02/2017)

 

EDUCATION: On February 7, 2017 the Parliament approved the Education Act. The amendment should enable the creation of joint classes at secondary vocational schools for a number of related study fields or apprentice fields. For more information click here. (REF: www.nrsr.sk 07/02/2017)

 

GRADUATES: According to the Central Office for Labor, Social Affairs, and Family of the Slovak Republic, 69% of unemployed high school and university graduates were without a job for less than six months as of the end of last year. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 01/02/2017)

 

HEALTH: On February 1, 2017 the Parliament approved government bill amending and supplementing Law no. 153/2013 Coll. on the National Health Information System. For more information click here. (REF: www.nrsr.sk 01/02/2017)

 

INFORMATION ACT: The Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic prepared an amendment to the Act on Free Access to Information. If adopted, the changes would remove ambiguities and shortcomings of the applicable law and enhance public scrutiny. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 08/02/2017)

 

INVESTMENT: On February 22, 2017 the Cabinet approved four applications for provision of investment incentives in the value of more than 11 million EUR. Five hundred new jobs should be opened in Slovakia, specifically, in Zilina, Ladomerska Vieska, Lucenec, and Betliar. These four investors plan to invest together 88.5 million EUR. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk 15/02/2017)

 

LABOR PRODUCTIVITY: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, Slovakia’s labor productivity used to be the highest in the EU, however, according to the latest report; Slovakia’s productivity has deteriorated in comparison to other countries. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 08/02/2017)

 

REAL ESTATE: According to the National Bank of Slovakia average prices of apartments in Slovakia again increased in the fourth quarter of 2016. Compared to the previous quarter, average prices of apartments rose by 9 EUR EUR/m2 and reached 1,304 EUR/m2. Apartment prices increased by 5.8% year-on-year. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 02/02/2017)

 

PUBLIC SECTOR: According to the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic the economic processes of state entities should be centralized through the Central Economic System project. In total 900 organizations in the state administration should be in the Central Economic System by 2023. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 01/02/2017)

 

RATING: Fitch Ratings affirmed Slovakia’s long-term rating at ‘A+’, with a stable outlook. The agency says that the country will see a solid economic growth of over 3%, investment growth, while the public debt will shrink. The economic growth should be fueled by increased consumption of households and the positive developments in the labor market. Also, investment growth should accelerate owing to continued absorption of EU funds, as well as due to investments in the automotive industry. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 13/02/2017)

 

SCIENCE: Thanks to the cooperation of the Slovak University of Technology and the Comenius University a University Center for almost 20 million EUR will be established in Bratislava. It will create space for scientists and experts in IT, molecular and structural biology. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 14/02/2017)

 

SMART CITIES: According to the latests information provided by the European Investment Bank, Bratislava, Nitra, Kosice, and Presov will become innovative, digitalized, and ecological cities of the future. The European Investment Bank plans to invest 150 to 200 million EUR in smart solutions in Slovakia. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 23/02/2017)

 

THERMAL INSULATION: On February 1, 2017 the Cabinet approved an amendment to the Law on Energy Performance of Buildings submitted by the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic. According to the amendment the state subsidy for thermal insulation of family houses will increase. The maximum subsidy will go up from the current 6,500 to 8,500 EUR. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk 01/02/2017)

 

TAXES: The Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic is preparing an amendment to the Income Tax Law. One of the aims of the new legislation is to make mortgages for young people more attractive, the application of transfer pricing and also stimuli to develop spas and tourism and make business conditions in this sector more attractive. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 09/02/2017)

 

TAXES: On February 1, 2017 the Parliament approved the government bill amending and supplementing Law no. 442/2012 Coll. on International Assistance and Cooperation in Tax Administration. For more information click here. (REF: www.nrsr.sk 01/02/2017)

 

TOURISM: According to the Ministry of Transport and Construction, the visitor rate from January to November 2016 was the highest from 2015 by 8.3 % in the number of visitors and by 8% in the number of overnight stays. It is thus the best year so far in the history of tourism in Slovakia. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 15/02/2017)

 

TRADE: According to the Statistics Office of the Slovak Republic, Slovakia reported a preliminary trade surplus of 3.731 billion EUR in 2016. Year-on-year, the surplus increased by over 410 million EUR. Exports of goods in December reached 5.42 billion EUR, which was 6.2% more than the year before, while imports increased by 6.8% to 5.54 billion EUR. For the full year of 2016, Slovakia exported goods for 70.118 billion EUR, which meant a year-on-year increase of 3.6 %. On the other hand, total imports last year amounted to 66.387 billion EUR. Compared to 2015, this meant an increase of 3.1%. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 09/02/2017)

 

TRANSPORT: At the international conference on interconnecting and use of inland waterways, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia signed a memorandum on the preparation of a proposal for a waterway corridor the Danube - Oder - Elbe to compete the road cargo transportation, in particular when transporting goods over long distances. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 01/02/2017)

 

UNEMPLOYMENT: According to the Central Office of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family of the Slovak Republic, the rate of registered unemployment in Slovakia reached 8.64% at the end of January 2017. Compared to December 2016, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.12% percentage points. Year-on-year, unemployment rate was lower by 1.75%. For more information click here. (REF: SITA Slovak AM 21/02/2017)


AGRICULTURE: On February 2, 2017 the European Commission launched the first phase of the modernisation and simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy with the opening of a three-month public consultation. The contributions received will help to define the agricultural policy priorities for the future. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/187)

 

DIGITAL: On February 7, 2017 negotiators of the European Parliament, the Member States and the European Commission reached an agreement according to which it will soon be possible to fully use online subscriptions to films, sports events, e-books, video games or music services when travelling within the EU. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/225)

 

ECONOMY: On February 22, 2017 the European Commission published its annual analysis of the economic and social situation in the Member States, including an assessment of remaining imbalances. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/308)

 

EDUCATION: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, more than 98.6% lower secondary school pupils were studying at least one foreign language in 2015. Among them, more than 58.8% were studying two foreign languages or more. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/335)

 

EU: On February 14, 2017 the European Commission proposed to amend the Comitology Regulation to increase transparency and accountability in the procedures for implementation of the EU legislation. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/264)

 

EU: On February 8, 2017 the European Commission welcomed the agreement with the European Parliament and European Council of Ministers on the Structural Reform Support Program. The program provides financing for the technical support that the European Commission makes available to Member States at their request. The program has a budget of EUR 142.8 million EUR to cover 2017-2020. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/233)

 

EU: On February 13, 2017 the European Commission published the Winter Economic Forecast. For the first time in almost a decade, the economies of all EU Member States are expected to grow in 2017 and 2018. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/251)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, euro area annual inflation was 1.8% in January 2017, up from 1.1% in December 2016. In January 2016 the rate was 0.3%. European Union annual inflation was 1.7% in January 2017, up from 1.2% in December. A year earlier the rate was 0.3%. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/327)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, the EU28 seasonally adjusted current account of the balance of payments recorded a surplus of 17.8 billion EUR in December 2016, compared with surplus of 16.2 billion EUR in November 2016 and 11.4 billion EUR in December 2015. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/293)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in December 2016 compared with November 2016, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector decreased by 0.2% in the euro area, while it increased by 0.6% in the EU28. In November 2016, production in construction grew by 0.9% in the euro area and by 0.7% in the EU28. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/291)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to the previous quarter. In the third quarter of 2016, GDP also grew by 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/276)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in December 2016 compared with November 2016, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 1.6% in the euro area and by 1.0% in the EU28. In November 2016 industrial production rose by 1.5% in the euro area and by 1.6% in the EU28. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/274)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in December 2016, compared with November 2016, industrial producer prices rose by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU28. In November 2016 prices increased by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU28. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/200)

 

ENERGY: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in 2015, gross inland energy consumption, which reflects the energy quantities necessary to satisfy all inland consumption, amounted to 1 626 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), below its 1990 level and down by 11.6% compared to its peak of almost 1 840 Mtoe in 2006. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/307)

 

ENERGY: On February 17, 2017 the EU Member States agreed on the Euroepan Commission's proposal to invest 444 million EUR in the priority European energy infrastructure projects. The 18 selected electricity, smart grids and gas projects will contribute to achieving the Energy Union's goals by connecting European energy networks, increasing security of energy supply, and contributing to the sustainable development by integrating renewable energy sources across the EU. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/280)

 

ENERGY: On February 1, 2017 the European Commission announced a new Energy Union tour. Europe is on track to reach its 2020 targets in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energy. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/161)

 

ENVIRONMENT: On February 6, 2017 the European Commission adopted the Environmental Implementation Review, a new tool to improve implementation of European environmental policy. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/197)

 

ENVIRONMENT: The European Commission is amending the EU Emissions Trading System to tackle CO2 emissions from aviation. This comes following an agreement by the International Civil Aviation Organization to stabilise international aviation emissions. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/189)

 

HEALTH: On March 1, 2017 newly established European Reference Networks started their operation. They are unique and innovative cross-border cooperation platforms between specialists for the diagnosis and treatment of rare or low prevalence complex diseases. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/323)

 

REGIONS: On February 28, 2017 the European Commission published the third edition of the Regional Competitiveness Index for 263 EU regions. It provides useful insights for regions to boost their economic performance and evaluates the ability of a region to offer an attractive and sustainable environment for firms and residents to live and work. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/333)

 

ROAMING: On February 1, 2017 the representatives of the European Parliament, the Euroepan Council and the European Commission agreed on how to regulate wholesale roaming markets. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/193)

 

SOCIAL: On February 6, 2017 the European Commission launched a public consultation to consult young people, teachers, youth workers, organisations, employers and other stakeholders on the priorities of the recently launched European Solidarity Corps. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/164)

 

TAX: On February 21, 2017 the Euroepan Commission welcomed the agreement reached on ECOFIN on new rules to help prevent tax avoidance via non-EU countries. This latest addition to the EU's anti-tax avoidance toolbox will prohibit multinational companies from escaping corporate tax by exploiting differences between the tax systems of Member States and those of non-EU countries. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/305)

 

TRADE: According to a new independent study carried out on behalf of the European Commission, the trade agreements have helped to boost EU agricultural exports and have supported jobs in the agri-food sector as well as other sectors of the economy. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/339)

 

TRADE: On February 22, 2017 the Trade Facilitation Agreement entered into force. It is the most significant multilateral trade deal. This agreement aims to simplify and clarify international import and export procedures, customs formalities and transit requirements. It will make trade-related administration easier and less costly. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/188)

 

TRADE: On February 17, 2017 the European Commissioner and Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister met to discuss the way forward for the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan. Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to reach a highly comprehensive and ambitious agreement as early as possible. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/303)

 

TRADE: On February 15, 2017 the European Parliament voted in favour of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada, concluding the ratification process of this deal at the EU level. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/270)

 

TRADE: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, first estimate for euro area exports of goods to the rest of the world in December 2016 was 178.6 billion EUR, an increase of 6% compared with December 2015. Imports from the rest of the world stood at 150.5 billion EUR, a rise of 4% compared with December 2015. As a result, the euro area recorded a 28.1 billion EUR surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in December 2016, compared with +24.4 billion EUR in December 2015. Intra-euro area trade rose to 137.4 billion EUR in December 2016, up by 5% compared with December 2015. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/281)

 

TRADE: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in December 2016 compared with November 2016, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade fell by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU28. In November the retail trade decreased by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.1% in the EU28. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/210)

 

TRADE: The European Union and Mexico will hold two additional negotiating rounds before summer as part of an accelerated negotiation schedule for a new, reformed Free Trade Agreement. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/183)

 

TRANSPORTATION: On February 8, 2017 the European Commission launched a new and innovative way to finance transport infrastructure projects in Europe. The call for proposals will seek to combine 1 billion EUR of grants with financing from public financial institutions, the private sector or the European Fund for Strategic Investments. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/217)

 

WAGE: As of January 1, 2017, 22 out of the 28 Member States of the European Union have national minimum wages. Only Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden do not have one. Monthly minimum wages are below 500 EUR in the east and well above 1000 EUR in the northwest. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/259)



 
 
 

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