PM Radicova gets her way in Brussels
The Competitiveness Pact meeting in Brussels on Friday called for eurozone member states to adopt a single policy with regard to tax and labour issues, but Slovakia is not happy with either proposal.
Prime Minister Iveta Radicova announced that Slovakia had pushed through its proposals against a single pan-European retirement age. Slovakia also got its way when it comes to direct taxes, as these will remain under national jurisdiction instead of being standardised throughout the EU.
EU leaders endorsed the pact on Friday, with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy saying on Saturday that as many EU members as possible should join the Pact.
Under the current system, the retirement age should be linked to the demographic structure and life expectancy of the particular country. There is a 15-year interval between the official retirement age and life expectancy, which is a criterion that Slovakia meets at present. At present men in Slovakia retire at 62 while women retire at the age of 60 or earlier if they have brought up children.
While in Brussels the Prime Minister also managed to convince EC President Jose Manuel Barroso to ease up on the release of funding for motorway construction by allowing funds to be re-allocated from other programmes, on certain conditions.
The re-allocations will not affect other projects as the funds to be used would either not be needed for their initial purpose or which have been saved by negotiating better terms. The news will please transport minister Jan Figel who had his request for re-allocations rejected two weeks ago in Brussels.