Prime Minister Robert Fico has announced a package of 15 measures intended to raise the living standard of those in need, but analysts agree overall that the government doesn’t really have the promised EUR 250 million or so it plans for the scheme, putting a question mark over whether the idea is not just a populist ploy in the run-up to the 2016 parliamentary elections.
The measures included in the package would raise the minimum wage, but also the special Christmas allowance that is handed out to pensioners every year, with the number of places at nursery schools also targeted. PM Fico refuted claims that it was to increase the popularity of his Smer-SD party, while also arguing that it would not endanger the country’s fiscal targets.
Fico’s governing Smer-SD party had a party conference at the weekend, with some changes to ministerial posts expected from Monday as the government reshuffles in preparation for the 2016 elections. The party enjoyed a landslide 44% victory in the last elections, but even Fico doubts that such a result could be repeated, saying it is naive to think so.
Fico also promised to keep gas prices under control, blaming the consistent price hikes on the former foreign shareholders, who, he says, lied to the people.