Legislative and Policy Update: November 2017



SLOVAK REPUBLIC


EUROPEAN UNION

AGRICULTURE: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is establishing the Institute of Agricultural Policy. The Institute is intended to be the department's analytical unit. Its mission will be to improve the ministry's decision-making through analyses, data, and evidence in the areas of agriculture, food industry, forestry, and rural development. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 14/11/2017)

 

BUDGET: According to the Budgetary Responsibility Council assessment of the draft general government budget for 2018 to 2020, the government does not adequately take advantage of favorable economic conditions to speed up consolidation. The body draws particular attention to the fact that the government in the budget again worsens the targets regarding the general government gap compared to the original plans. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 16/11/2017)

 

BUSINESS: Minister of Justice of the Slovak Republic, Lucia Zitnanska intends to change the functioning of business registers by 2020 to one giant business register to deal with registering a business. Lucia Zitnanska also proposes easing the burden on registry courts by shifting part of their agenda onto external entities, most likely notaries. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 07/11/2017)

 

CYBERSECURITY: On November 8, 2017, the Cabinet approved the draft law on the Cyber Security with the new wording. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk/ SITA A.M. 08/11/2017)

 

DATA: On November 29, 2017, the Parliament approved the amendment to the Data Protection Act. For more information click here. (REF: www.nrsr.sk/ SITA A.M. 29/11/2017)

 

ECONOMY: According to the analysis of the convergence of the Slovak economy compiled by the National Bank of Slovakia, the relative performance of the country's economy reached 77% of the EU average in the past year, which meant the fourth year of stagnation in approaching the economically more advanced states of Europe. The relative productivity of Slovakia even fell last year by one percentage point to 82% of the EU average. On the other hand, after four years of decline, Slovakia came closer to the West in prices when the relative price level reached 68% of the EU average last year. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 02/11/2017)

 

ECONOMY: According to the amendment to the Commercial Code, which is effective as of January 1, 2018, services of companies offering "fast and reliable liquidation of all kinds of companies" are already illegal in Slovakia, because of a part of the amendment to the Commercial Code which came already into effect. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 09/11/2017)

 

ECONOMY: According to the OECD the global economy will boost by 3.6% in 2017 and by 3.7% in 2018. Growth will slow down afterwards mainly due to meager investment activity and increasingly threatening debts. OECD, however, expects that Slovakia will do relatively well but with 3.3% GDP growth it will lag behind its partners from V4. OECD forecasts a change in this trend in 2019 when Slovakia will be the fastest growing economy in the region with 4%. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 30/11/2017)

 

EDUCATION: The Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sports, Martina Lubyova has signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports of the Slovak Republic and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China at the 2nd Ministerial Conference on Innovation between 16 CEE Countries and China regarding joint financing of R&D projects. The material creates space for more intensive scientific and technical cooperation between Slovak and Chinese organizations, in particular through the support of bilateral science and technology projects in selected fields of science and technology. The call for projects is scheduled for early 2018 through the Agency to Support Research and Development. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 28/11/2017)

 

EDUCATION: According to the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, in addition to the testing of reading skills, knowledge of mathematics and natural science, and in financial literacy in PISA 2015 (Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Slovak Republic was also involved for the first time in the testing of collaborative problem solving. According to the PISA testing, the average performance of OECD countries was standardized to 500 points, while the average performance of Slovak pupils in collaborative problem solving achieved 463 points, which is statistically significantly worse result than the OECD average. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 22/11/2017)

 

eGOVERNMENT: According to Peter Pellegrini, Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatization, the amendment to the eGovernment Act, which entered into force on November 1, 2017, should simplify the signing of electronic submissions. Online card payments for electronic services of the state or central delivery of official decisions simplify communication with the public administration. Based on the new rules, sanctions will be introduced for offices that will fail to prepare and will continue the so-called paper-based approach. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 02/11/2017)

 

eHEALTH: According to the National Health Information Center, 380 out of 9,951 outpatient facilities and 26 hospitals and polyclinics are already connected to eHealth. The state expects to launch eHealth next year. All healthcare providers will have to input data into electronic medical records. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 03/11/2017)

 

EMISSIONS: On November 29, 2017, the Parliament approved the amendment to the Act on Emissions Trading. From 2018, trading with emission allowances will only be done through an electronic system that will serve for reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, on activity of an operation, as well as verification reports and monitoring plans. For more information click here. (REF: www.nrsr.sk/ SITA A.M. 30/11/2017)

 

E-MOBILITY: The Chinese company GeelY ZhiDou is considering eastern Slovakia for its manufacturing plant in Europe. Electric car ZhiDou D2 is one of the world’s best-selling EVs. If the company decides for Slovakia, the factory would open 800 jobs, of which engineers and technicians would account for 25%. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 03/11/2017)

 

E-MOBILITY: According to the Zapadoslovenska energetika, a.s. partners in the project NEXT-E have signed a grant agreement with the INEA in Tallinn that will facilitate the construction of 252 EV chargers across six CEE countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and Romania. The NEXT-E consortium will build 222 fast chargers and 30 ultrafast chargers along main traffic arteries. The fast chargers will be installed in 2018 and the ultra-fast chargers in 2019 within the preparations for the new generation of EVs with long range. The project is slated for completion in 2020. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 22/11/2017)

 

EMPLOYMENT: On November 22, 2018, the Cabinet approved the Human Resources Operational Program in which Youth Employment Initiative will be allocated almost 12.4 million EUR. The Youth Employment Initiative aims to support young people who are not employed. It is funded from specific budgetary funds and from targeted European Social Fund investments. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk/ SITA A.M. 22/11/2017)

 

ENERGY: The Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic is working on an amendment to the law on Support for Renewable Energy Sources and High-efficiency Cogeneration which should be presented to the Government in 2018. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 07/11/2017)

 

ENERGY: According to the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency, they will distribute at least 13 million EUR in 2018 within the Green Home program supporting the installation of small RES. Households outside Bratislava region will be able to apply for the vouchers in two rounds. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 22/11/2017)

 

eSIGNATURES: The Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic started to issue new, more secure guaranteed electronic signatures for holders of electronic personal ID cards. In Slovakia, 300,000 guaranteed electronic signatures have been issued so far. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 02/11/2017)

 

FINANCE: According to Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatization Peter Pellegrini, Slovakia is one of the most progressive countries in the region in terms of cutting-edge technologies. Slovaks have adopted modern technologies, and are the leaders in the use of contactless payment cards. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 08/11/2017)

 

INVESTMENT AID: On November 8, 2017, the Cabinet approved an amendment to draft law on Regional Investment Assistance Act. Significant changes compared to the current situation include dropping the requirement of the creation of jobs in industrial manufacturing. As to technology centers and centers of company services, the condition of employing a share of staffers with higher education is replaced by the condition of paying out wages higher than the average in the given district. The draft law toughens the evaluation of investment plans, brings more transparent conditions for granting investment aid, tightens the conditions for their implementation, and introduces a strict definition of steps of the state administration bodies in the event of their breach. The provision of investment aid is to be regularly evaluated on a yearly basis in the form of an ex-post analysis. The legislation is to take effect as of April 1, 2018. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk/ SITA A.M. 09/11/2017)

 

INVESTMENTS: The Romanian company Green Group is entering the Slovak market, with a direct investment of 8 to 10 million EUR in the construction of a new plastics processing plant, focusing particularly on PET plastic bottles. It does not demand any state aid. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 08/11/2017)

 

INVESTMENT: On November 15, 2017, the Cabinet approved the extension of the list of plots to which the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic issued a certificate of significant investment in March 2015 for Volkswagen Slovakia. This investment concerns expansion of production capacities of the automotive plant, it will reach 352 million EUR, and it will create at least 2,500 new jobs. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk/ SITA A.M. 16/11/2017)

 

IT: According to the National Agency for Network and Electronic Services, the central contact center of the web portal slovakia.sk has handled 68,700 applications this year. This is an annual increase of 50,960 applications. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 08/11/2017)

 

SLOVAK REPUBLIC: On November 8, 2017, the Cabinet approved the draft summary of the Annual Report of the Slovak Republic for 2016. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk/ SITA A.M. 08/11/2017)

 

TAXES: According to the Financial Administration of the Slovak Republic, reliable taxpayers will receive a special approach from the tax authorities as part of the introduction of the tax reliability index. From 2018, the index should show which taxpayers are reliable, less reliable, and unreliable. The tax reliability index will be calculated automatically based on about four dozen criteria, but the proposal will focus primarily on the correct and timely fulfillment of tax obligations. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 03/11/2017)

 

TRANSPORT: On November 8, 2017, the Cabinet approved the new draft on Traffic Code. The Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic prepared a completely new law, mainly due to the adoption of the European Union package of measures in relation to inspections of technical condition of vehicles, new regulations on vehicle approval, and supervision over the market. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk/ SITA A.M. 8/11/2017)

 

TRANSPORT: From 2018, a train from the Port of Dalian will travel to Bratislava's transship terminal once a week, and in the second half of the year it will be twice a week. The Chinese Communications and Transportation Association plans to dispatch around 500 trains from China to Europe via Slovakia in 2018. Also, other Chinese cities and provinces have shown interest in transporting goods through Slovakia. After simplifying transit formalities, it should take only eight days to a train from China to arrive in Bratislava in the future. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 14/11/2017)

 

WAGE: According to the Statistics Office of The Slovak Republic, the average nominal monthly wage in September 2017 increased in the retail sector by 7.2% to 674 EUR in comparison to last year. It grew by 6.9% to 432 EUR in restaurants and pubs, in transport and storage by 6.8% to 912 EUR, in sale and repair of motor vehicles by 6.6% to 958 EUR, in industry by 4.4% to 1,017 EUR, in accommodation services by 4% to 705 EUR, in selected market services by 3.1% to 890 EUR, in construction by 2.6% to 669 EUR, and in wholesale by 2.5% to 892 EUR. On the other hand, the average nominal monthly wage dropped 2.8% to 1,621 EUR in information and communication activities. For more information click here. (REF: SITA A.M. 13/11/2017)

 

WAGE: On November 15, 2017, the Cabinet approved that the salaries of constitutional officials will remain frozen in 2018. For more information click here. (REF: www.rokovania.sk/ SITA A.M. 16/11/2017)



AGRICULTURE: The economic accounts for agriculture show that total agricultural output in the European Union stood at 405.0 billion EUR at basic prices in 2016, down by 2.8% compared with 2015. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4821)

 

AGRICULTURE: On November 29, 2017, the European Commission, adopted "The Future of Food and Farming", outlining the ways to ensure that the oldest EU common policy remains future-proof. Simpler rules and a more flexible approach will ensure the Common Agricultural Policy delivers real results in supporting farmers and leads the sustainable development of EU agriculture. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4841)

 

AVIATION: On November 30, 2017, the European Commission updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of non-European airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4971)

 

BUDGET: On November 20, 2017, the EU institutions reached an agreement on the 2018 EU budget. The EU budget will go to stimulate the creation of jobs, especially for young people, to boost growth, strategic investments, and convergence. The EU will also continue supporting the efforts to effectively deal with the migration challenge, both inside and outside of the EU. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4687)

 

DIGITAL: On November 20, 2017, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement to end unjustified geoblocking for consumers wishing to buy products or services online within the EU. The new rules will boost e-commerce for the benefit of consumers and businesses who take advantage of the growing European online market. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4781)

 

EDUCATION: The European Commission will publish its report on the achievements of Erasmus+, the EU programme for education, training, youth, and sport for 2016, celebrating the 30th anniversary. The European Commission will also present the Erasmus+ Generation Declaration on its future. For more information click here. (REF: AGENDA/17/4981)

 

EDUCATION: From 20 to 24 November 2017, the European Commission organized the second European Vocational Skills Week. The objective was to inspire people to discover, use and improve their talents and abilities through vocational education and training. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4683)

 

EDUCATION: On November 14, 2017, the European Commission set out its vision for how we can create a European Education Area by 2025. The European Commission believes that it is in the shared interest of all Member States to harness the full potential of education and culture as drivers for job creation, economic growth, and social fairness as well as a means to experience European identity in all its diversity. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4521)

 

EDUCATION: On November 9, 2017, the 2017 edition of the European Commission's Education and Training Monitor was published. It shows that national education systems are becoming more inclusive and effective. Yet it also confirms that students' educational attainment largely depends on their socio-economic backgrounds. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4261)

 

ENERGY: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in the European Union, household electricity prices slightly decreased (-0.5%) on average between the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2017 to stand at 20.4 EUR per 100 kWh. Across the EU Member States, household electricity prices in the first half of 2017 ranged from below 10 EUR per 100 kWh in Bulgaria to more than 30 EUR per 100 kWh in Denmark and Germany. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/5024)

 

ENERGY: The Third Report on the State of the Energy Union shows that Europe's transition to a low-carbon society is becoming real. Enabling actions are being put in place to support a socially fair clean energy transition. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4725)

 

ENERGY: On November 9, 2017, the European Commission proposed to amend the EU Gas Directive, to improve the functioning of the EU internal energy market and enhance solidarity between the Member States. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4401)

 

ENVIRONMENT: The European Union launched new strategic partnerships for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, a programme co-financed by the EU's Partnership Instrument and the German International Climate Initiative to scale up European climate policy collaborations with other major economies. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/5022)

 

ENVIRONMENT: On November 23, 2017, the European Commission revealed ambitious new plans to strengthen Europe's ability to deal with natural disasters. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4731)

 

ENVIRONMENT: On November 16, 2017, at the Clean Air Forum taking place in Paris the European Commission and the EU Environment Agency launched a new Air Quality Index which allows citizens to monitor air quality in real time. The EC also published an Air Quality Atlas, a tool that maps the origins of fine particulate matter, such as dust, smoke, soot, pollen and soil particles, in EU cities. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4604)

 

ENVIRONMENT: On November 8, 2017, the European Commission proposed new targets for the EU fleet-wide average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars and vans to help accelerate the transition to low- and zero emission vehicles. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4242)

 

EU: On November 22, 2017, the European Commission set out EU's economic and social priorities for the year ahead, gave policy recommendation for the euro area and completed the assessment of euro area Member States' Draft Budgetary Plans. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4681)

 

EU: On November 22, 2017, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published the indicators of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure Scoreboard. The MIP is part of the Six-Pack regulation on economic governance adopted by the European Parliament and Council in November 2011. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4846)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in September 2017 compared with August 2017, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector increased by 0.1% in the euro area, while it decreased by 0.4% in the EU28. In August 2017, production in construction remained stable in the euro area and fell by 0.2% in the EU28. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4721)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, euro area annual inflation was 1.4% in October 2017, down from 1.5% in September. In October 2016, the rate was 0.5%. European Union annual inflation was 1.7% in October 2017, down from 1.8% in September. A year earlier the rate was 0.5%. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4701)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.5% in November 2017, up from 1.4% in October 2017. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/5044)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.6% in both the euro area and the EU28 during the third quarter of 2017, compared with the previous quarter. In the second quarter of 2017, GDP grew by 0.7% in both zones. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4644)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in September 2017 compared with August 2017, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28. In August 2017, industrial production rose by 1.4% in the euro area and by 1.7% in the EU28. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4641)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in 2016, flows of money sent by residents of the European Union to non-EU countries, referred to as personal transfers, amounted to 30.3 billion EUR, compared with 31.3 billion EUR in 2015. As inflows to the EU totaled 9.9 bn EUR in 2016, this resulted in a negative balance for the EU with the rest of the world. The majority of personal transfers consist of flows of money sent by migrants to their country of origin. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4601)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in September 2017 compared with August 2017, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade rose by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28. In August, the retail trade volume decreased by 0.1% in the euro area, while it rose by 0.5% in the EU28. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4405)

 

EU: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in September 2017, compared with August 2017, industrial producer prices rose by 0.6% in both the euro area and the EU28. In August 2017, prices increased by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4381)

 

EU FORECAST: On November 9, 2017, the European Commission released the Autumn Forecast, which expects growth to continue in both the euro area and in the EU at 2.1% in 2018 and at 1.9% in 2019. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4362)

 

FINANCE: On November 27, 2017, the European Commission adopted rules that will make electronic payments in shops and online safer. This will also allow consumers to access more convenient, cost-effective and innovative solutions offered by payment providers. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4928)

 

INNOVATION: On November 7, 2017, the European Commission awarded the 2017 European Capital of Innovation prize of 1,000,000 EUR to Paris in France. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4363)

 

IPR: On November 29, 2017, the European Commission presented measures to ensure that intellectual property rights are well protected, thereby encouraging European companies, in particular, SMEs and start-ups, to invest in innovation and creativity. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4942)

 

RESIDENCE PERMITS: In 2016, about 3.4 million first residence permits were issued in the European Union to non-EU citizens, a record number since comparable data are available and up by 28% (or nearly 735 000 residence permits) compared with 2015. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4702)

 

STEEL: On November 30, 2017, members of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity agreed on an ambitious package of concrete policy solutions to tackle the pressing issue of global overcapacity in the steel sector. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/5049)

 

TAX: On November 30, 2017, the European Commission unveiled new tools to make the EU's Value Added Tax system more fraud-proof and close loopholes which can lead to large-scale VAT fraud. The new rules aim to build trust between the Member States so that they can exchange more information and boost cooperation between national tax authorities and law enforcement authorities. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4946)

 

TRADE: On November 16, 2017, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Chairman He Lifeng and Vice Chairman Hu Zucai, both of China's National Development and Reform Commission, held in Beijing the first cooperation meeting on State aid control and Fair Competition Review as part of a new dialogue between the EU and China. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4705)

 

TRADE: The first estimate for euro area exports of goods to the rest of the world in September 2017 was 187.1 billion EUR, an increase of 5.6% compared with September 2016. Imports from the rest of the world stood at 160.7 billion EUR, a rise of 5.1% compared with September 2016. As a result, the euro area recorded a 26.4 billion EUR surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in September 2017, compared with +24.3 billion EUR in September 2016. Intra-euro area trade rose to 157.6 billion EUR in September 2017, up by 4.9% compared with September 2016. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/4661)

 

TRADE: On November 9, 2017, the EU published a report assessing the implementation of its existing trade agreements. New Commission report highlights positive outcomes of existing EU trade agreements and identifies areas for improvement. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4486)

 

UNEMPLOYMENT: According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, the euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 8.8% in October 2017, down from 8.9% in September 2017 and from 9.8% in October 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since January 2009. The EU28 unemployment rate was 7.4% in October 2017, down from 7.5% in September 2017 and from 8.3% in October 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since November 2008. For more information click here. (REF: STAT/17/5043)

 

URBAN: On November 28, 2017, the European Commission and European Investment Bank launch new advisory service to help cities plan investments. URBIS, for "Urban Investment Support" will help cities plan investments to support their own urban development strategies and get easier access to finance. For more information click here. (REF: IP/17/4941)



 
 
 

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