New Slovak government to give privatization priority

15 October 2002 – The newly elected right-leaning government of Slovakia has pledged to complete the sell-off of state-owned strategic companies including those in the power sector as quickly as possible.

The state holds majority non-controlling stakes in Slovakia’s regional energy distributors, fixed line phone and gas monopolies, and other firms, as well as majorities in dominant power producer Slovenske Elektrarne and Slovak railways.

“We will vote in the government so that these firms are fully-privatised as soon as possible,” future Economy Minister Robert Nemcsics told journalists.

Four Slovak centre-right parties formed a coalition last week to establish a government – led by Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda – that is expected to lead the ex-communist state into the European Union and NATO.

The new coalition has pledged broad reforms aimed at further stabilising the country’s economy to ready it for quick adoption of the Euro after EU accession.

The government must change the current privatisation law, which forces the state to keep a majority in so-called strategic firms, before the further privatizations can take place. Nemcsics added they would propose that parliament change the law after the timetable and the use of proceeds were agreed.

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