The recent attack of Prime Minister Robert Fico on the foreign shareholders of SPP over their attempt to hike up prices again, while trying to sell off their 49% stake (which the government blocked as a result), affected the PM personally enough for him to write a blog entry in Hospodarske Noviny today. Here The Daily provides you with its own translation of his words.
On gas, people and governments
The foreign owners of SPP declare their intent to sell off their stake, but beforehand they submit a proposal for a hike in prices by 18 or 25 percent. I don’t know where our German and French friends got their naivety that the state with a Smer-SD government will just wave its hand in indifference.
I have never experienced such audacity and arrogance. The ladies and gentlemen at the French and German headquarters know what situation our country and people find themselves in and just how unforgiving are the consolidation goals.
No, billions are not enough for them, so they take action.
There are many policies with fundamental differences between the right-wing and Smer-SD. There is probably nowhere this can be so clearly seen, however, in the shape of millions and billions, as in the case of gas prices and the relationship of the state to this strategic commodity.
A brief chronology of events. In 2001 the government of Mikuláš Dzurinda sells 49 percent of SPP in a “tender” with just one candidate for 123 billion Slovak koruna.
Together with the minority share, it hands over also managerial control over the company. During the governments of Mikuláš Dzurinda, the prices of gas for households increased by roughly fivefold. People are chipping in for the investor’s fairy-tale return on their subscription.
Until 2011 they cover input costs from profits, and now are just waiting on the bonus – five billion from the sale of their share. The business of the century. The government in 2006 – 2010 increases pressure in pricing, which it hands to the jurisdiction of the General Meeting where the state holds a majority. Gas prices for households are stable, and even dropping in certain periods. Despite the development on the world markets, despite the gas crisis.
Enter the government of Iveta Radičova – the approval of price proposals is handed back to the hands of the foreign owners, and the price of gas rises once again. Without accounting for the impacts on the economy and on the people suffering under the pressure of the crisis and record price hikes. The government of Smer-SD renews the key role of the state in pricing.
The foreign owners announce their intention to sell off their share, but beforehand they submit a proposal for a hike in prices by 18 or 25 percent. I don’t know where our German and French friends got their naivety that the state with a Smer-SD government will just wave its hand in indifference.
I’ve been in top positions for many a day, but I’ve never experienced such audacity and arrogance. The ladies and gentlemen at the French and German headquarters know what situation our country and people find themselves in, how fragile economic development is, and just how unforgiving the consolidation goals.
No, billions are not enough for them, so they take action. Our reply was therefore understandable. Until we receive an undertaking that prices will not change from next year, the state will block the prepared sale of the minority share. From the position of Prime Minister, I can imagine no other approach. If someone has sucked billions in profit out of the country and then still has the impertinence to ask for a bonus at the end, while everyone else is suffering, they should not expect to see our friendly face.
By Prime Minister Robert Fico.