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Legislative and Policy Update: December 2018



SLOVAK REPUBLIC


EUROPEAN UNION

BUDGET: On December 5, 2018, the Parliament approved the General Government Budget for next year, which counts with a zero deficit of the general government. The state budget for 2019, which President Andrej Kiska signed into law, counts with total revenues of 15.498 billion EUR, expenditures of 17.636 billion EUR, and the deficit is budgeted at 2.138 billion EUR. For more information click here.

DEPTH: On January 9, 2019, the Cabinet approved the Government Debt Management Strategy for 2019 - 2022. For more information click here.

ECONOMY: According to the analysts, the Slovak economy accelerated its growth pace, benefiting mostly from the dynamic growth of the national demand in 2018. The automotive industry was a driving force in 2018. Salaries have recorded the highest increase since 2010. They increased by 5.4% in the last quarter of 2018. For more information click here

EDUCATION: On January 9, 2019, the Cabinet approved the draft bill on pedagogical and professional staff of schools. The amendment should improve the quality of education. The objective of the bill is in particular to make the teaching profession more attractive by means of changes to the system of continuing education, bonuses for professional development, a career system, and the performance of attestations in relation to professional standards of pedagogical and professional school staff in regional education, or to enhance the quality of the educational process towards the development of innovative approaches. For more information click here.

EDUCATION: In the global ranking of universities Round University Ranking assessing the effectiveness of leading universities in the world, Comenius University in Bratislava has ranked among the top 300 universities in the categories of social sciences and humanities. Overall, the University in Bratislava ranks 391st in the world. The best university in the world in social sciences is Stanford University, followed by University of Oxford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For more information click here.

ELECTROMOBILTY: The Ministry of Economy presented its action plan for the development of electromobility which was sent to the interdepartmental review. The department has received 47 comments, of which 38 were labeled as fundamental. The ministry has prepared sixteen measures intended to contribute to the development of electromobility in Slovakia. The ministry also wants to support research, development, and production of car batteries. For more information click here.

 

EMPLOYMENT: On December 7, 2018, the Parliament approved a draft amendment to the Employment Services Act, which aims to implement measures to streamline and accelerate the arrival of workers from third countries to Slovakia. These measures are designed to rationalize, accelerate, and make more flexible the system governing the entry and residence of third-country nationals in the Slovak Republic for the purpose of employment, especially in professions with identified labor shortages. The approved amendment introduces measures in the field of employment services as well as in the area of third-country foreigners' residence in Slovakia. The Employment Services Act introduces a duty for employers to report vacancies to labor offices, while the law will stipulate the maximum amount of the fine for the failure to do so. Another approved change is an increase in the periodicity of updating the list of jobs with a shortage of labor from one year to three months. For more information click here.

 

EMPLOYMENT: According to the 2019 Employment Flexibility Index, Slovakia ranked 32nd among 41 countries of the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Compared to the previous year, this means a drop by six spots. The index is compiled on the basis of World Bank data, comparing the country's legislation covering job creation, its course and termination. For more information click here.

ENERGY: On December 4, 2018, the Parliament approved the amendment to the Act on Support for Renewable Energy Sources, bringing subsidies for burning the quality wood in biomass facilities to an end. Under the new rules, only the combustion of wood from energy covers and waste from wood-processing industries will be subsidized. From January 2019 the amendment to the Act comes into force. For more information click here

EU: On December 12, 2018, the Cabinet approved the Proposal for the candidature of the Slovak Republic for the seat of the European Employment Agency in Bratislava. For more information click here.

FOREIGN POLICY: On December 19, 2018, the Cabinet approved the draft plan of foreign relations of the Government of the Slovak Republic for January 2019. For more information click here.

HEALTH: On January 9, 2019, the Cabinet approved the action plan of the National Oncology Program of the Slovak Republic. The state wants to strengthen the prevention and screenings of colon cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer. For more information click here.

 

HEALTH: On January 9, 2019, the Cabinet approved Slovakia's priorities in the area of improving environmental health of the population, which are contained in the Action Plan for the Environment and Health. The priorities include improving air quality, ensuring universal, fair and sustainable access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, minimizing the adverse effects of chemicals, removing adverse environmental impacts, and adopting adaptation measures in response to climate change. For more information click here.

INNOVATION: Companies in Slovakia can apply for EU funds for projects aimed at supporting smart innovations in industry. The Ministry of Economy has already announced a new call within the Operational Program Research and Innovations, for which 35 million EUR have been allocated. Applicants can receive up to 3 million EUR per project; the minimum amount being 100,000 EUR. For more information click here.

IT: On December 19, 2018, the Cabinet approved the Draft Act on Information Technologies in Public Administration. For more information click here.

LEVY: On December 13, 2018, the Parliament approved the Act on the Special levy on retail which President Andrej Kiska vetoed and returned to Parliament. The special levy will be paid by retail chains in which at least 25% of turnover is from foodstuffs and have outlets in at least 15% of all districts. The amount of the levy is set at 2.5% of the net turnover. Exempt from the levy are small and medium-sized enterprises in general, company retail outlets where the producer is also the retailer of food it produces, and also retailers selling only one assortment group of food products.  For more information click here

R&D: On January 9, 2019, the Cabinet approved the Report on the State of Research and Development in the Slovak Republic and its comparison with abroad for the year 2017.  For more information click here.

R&D: On December 19, 2018, the Cabinet approved the Change of the Research and Innovation Operational Program for the 2014 - 2020 programming period. For more information click here.

REFORM: On December 4, 2018, the Parliament approved a new law on the Financial Administration. This legislation unifies the competences of authorities of the Financial Administration from several previous laws. One of the results of this uniform legislation should be the transformation of the tax authority for selected tax entities. For more information click here.

 

ROBOTIZATION: According to the discussion platform Industry4UM, the introduction of robotic systems in Slovakia is dynamic. Their number has almost doubled in Slovak companies in the last two years. Robots are being used more often in production as well as assembly, welding and painting. While the automotive industry, which has a one-third share on the Slovak industrial market had been the leader in introducing robotic systems until recently, the electro-technical industry advanced to the same level last year. For more information click here.

 

TAXES: According to the analysis of a consulting company, the number of Slovak companies with owners in a tax haven recorded almost a 2% growth in 2018. Also, the United States recorded the biggest influx in 2018. For more information click here.

 

TRANSPORT: On December 6, 2018, the Parliament approved an amendment to the Road Transport Act, which introduces measures to reduce the illegal activity of taxi services. The goal of the change is also to support the use of digital platforms in the transport of people such as Uber, Taxify, Liftago, or Hopin. The amendment will enter into force on April 1, 2019. For more information click here.

 

TRANSPORT: On January 9, 2019, the Cabinet approved a proposal to conclude a financing agreement between the European Investment Bank and the Slovak Republic – a framework loan for co-financing transport infrastructure investments in the programming period 2014-2020. For more information click here.



ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Delivering on its strategy on AI adopted in April 2018, the European Commission presents a coordinated plan prepared with the Member States to foster the development and use of AI in Europe. This plan proposes joint actions for closer and more efficient cooperation between the Member States, Norway, Switzerland and the European Commission in four key areas: increasing investment, making more data available, fostering talent and ensuring trust. For more information click here.

 

CAPITAL MARKETS: As of January 1, 2019, new rules entered into force to revive the EU's securitisation market which will lead to more investment opportunities and increased lending to households and businesses. They will help provide additional funding sources for companies, strengthen banks' ability to support the economy and spread risks across market participants, while avoiding the excesses that led to the financial crisis. For more information click here.

 

CYBER SECURITY: The European Parliament and the European Council reached a political agreement on the Commission's proposal to strengthen rules to combat fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment – such as bank cards, cheques, mobile payments, and virtual currencies. For more information click here.

 

CYBER SECURITY: The European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission reached a political agreement on the Cybersecurity Act which reinforces the mandate of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity to better support Member States with tackling cybersecurity threats and attacks. The Act also establishes an EU framework for cybersecurity certification, boosting the cybersecurity of online services and consumer devices. For more information click here.

 

DIGITAL: The European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council agreed on the proposed copyright legislation on TV and radio programs. The new rules will make it easier for the European broadcasters to make certain programs available on their live TV or catch-up services online and will simplify the distribution of more radio and TV channels by retransmission operators. For more information click here.

 

EMPLOYMENT: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, the job vacancy rate in the euro area was 2.1% in the third quarter of 2018, stable compared with the previous quarter and up from 1.9% in the third quarter of 2017. In the EU28, the job vacancy rate was 2.2% in the third quarter of 2018, stable compared with the previous quarter and up from 2.0% in the third quarter of 2017. For more information click here.

 

ENERGY: The European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Council agreed on new rules for making the EU's electricity market work better. This concludes the Clean Energy Act for all Europeans and is a major step towards completing the Energy Union and combatting climate change. For more information click here.

 

EU-JAPAN: The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement negotiated by the Euroepan Commission is the first ever to include an explicit reference to the Paris climate agreement. It will create an open trading zone covering 635 million people and almost one third of the world's total GDP. The Strategic Partnership Agreement is the first ever bilateral framework agreement between the EU and Japan. For more information click here.

 

EUROBAROMETER: According to a new Eurobarometer survey, the majority of Europeans think that their voice counts in the EU. The number of Europeans who have a positive image of the EU increases. Support for the Economic and Monetary Union remains strong and reaches a new high in the Euro area. For more information click here.

 

GDP: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.2% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28 during the third quarter of 2018, compared with the previous quarter. In the second quarter of 2018, GDP had grown by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28. For more information click here.

 

INFLATION: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, the euro area annual inflation rate was 2.2% in October 2018, up from 2.1% in September 2018. A year earlier, the rate was 1.4%. European Union annual inflation was also 2.2% in October 2018, up from 2.1% in September 2018. A year earlier, the rate was 1.7%.  For more information click here.

 

INTERNET: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, at the beginning of 2018, 87% of people in the European Union aged between 16 and 74 had used internet at least once in the last twelve months. Of those internet users that were employed, 71% reported using computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets or other portable devices at work. 19% used computerized equipment or machinery. For more information click here.

 

INVESTMENT: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, net foreign direct investment stocks held in the rest of the world by investors residing in the European Union amounted to 7 412 billion EUR at the end of 2017, down by 4.8% compared with the end of 2016. Meanwhile, investment stocks held by the rest of the world in the EU remained almost stable at 6 295 billion EUR at the end of 2017. In other words, the EUˈs net investment position vis-a-vis the rest of the world decreased from 1 469 billion EUR at the end of 2016 to 1 117 billion EUR at the end of 2017. For more information click here.

 

SINGLE MARKET: The European Commission presented an action plan to enhance efficiency, transparency and legal certainty in the development of harmonized standards for a fully functioning Single Market. For more information click here.

 

SECURITY: As of January 1, 2019, new rules entered into force to strengthen the Schengen Information System. It is Europe's most widely used information sharing system for security and border management. For more information click here.

 

SOCIAL: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, hourly labor costs rose by 2.5% in the euro area and by 2.7% in the EU28 in the third quarter of 2018, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the second quarter of 2018, hourly labor costs increased by 2.3% and 2.7% respectively. For more information click here.

 

TAX: As of January 1, 2019, all Member States shall apply new legally binding anti-abuse measures that target the main forms of tax avoidance practiced by large multinationals. The rules build on global standards developed by the OECD in 2015 on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and should help to prevent profits being siphoned out of the EU where they go untaxed. For more information click here.

 

TAX: The European Commission announced new detailed measures that will pave the way for a smooth transition to new VAT rules for e-commerce that come into force in January 2021. These are the steps needed to ensure that online marketplaces can play their part in the fight against tax fraud and to ease administrative burdens for businesses selling goods online. For more information click here.

 

TRADE: The European Commission published two new studies which highlight the increasing importance of EU exports for job opportunities in Europe and beyond. EU exports to the world are more important than ever, supporting 36 million jobs across Europe, two thirds more than in 2000. 14 million of these jobs are held by women. In addition, EU exports to the world generate 2.3 trillion EUR of value added in the EU. For more information click here.



 
 
 

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