It is now one hundred days since the stand-alone government of Robert Fico took power on 4 April after its landslide victory in the March elections, so some will be celebrating and some maybe not.
Unfortunately, the so-called consolidation package that Fico’s cabinet adopted has had quite an impact already, with 22 measures adopted on the revenues side and just 1 measure dealing with expenditures. In addition to raising various forms of taxes, slicing away at pensions, banning health insurers from making profit, replacing the heads of almost every public organisation, and slapping special levies on banks, energy companies, mobile operators and other utilities, what else has been done? Well, some of the good points include the abolition of MP immunity, a possible change in penalties for marijuana use making it an offence instead of a crime, and .. for sure there are more.
The full impact of the government measures aimed at generating hundreds of millions of euros extra to get the state deficit down will only start to reflect in the life of people after some time, but the effects could be adverse, as the consolidation package will hit hardest on the middle class, which has already been struggling in the wake of the global economic crisis. The rich will become ever so slightly less rich, the poor might get a better deal (probably not as prices can expect to start hiking up thanks to the new tax burdens), while the middle class will see their available income drop.
When queried by Pravda daily about whether he thought maybe his government was too one-sided in its consolidation package, based almost solely on generating additional revenues but with no cuts, PM Fico argued that nobody has been able to show him where cuts could be made. As an argument, he told the daily that there was no way to cut the already low wages of people in state administration. The path to real savings, though, is to increase the efficiency of state administration, something the PM said interior minister Robert Kalinak is working on at present.