The Slovak government’s intention is to lower the market power of large international retail chains. Unfortunately, the alleged problems are mostly made-up. Instead, the “retail chain tax” may end up raising the food prices and wrecking havoc in Slovak retail.
The competitiveness of a country’s tax system is instrumental in creating a favorable environment for foreign direct investment, stimulating business, and advancing societal well-being. Competition based on endogenous factors should not be perceived as unjust or unnatural.
Do not be fooled by the vast yellow fields of rapeseed in Slovakia. The agricultural sector is a zombie, living on subsidies instead of fresh brains. There are a few exceptions (like the successful tomato growers), but the overall numbers are harsh.
In his first parliamentary speech, PM Mateusz Morawiecki repeated many theses of the government. Some of them are wrong and contradict the experiences of other countries. Others, while right, stand in clear contradiction with the actual actions of the Polish government.
Lithuania has long been praised for its rankings in the categories of starting a business, registering property, and enforcing contracts, but it has also been criticized for a heavy administrative burden and red tape pervading the areas of dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, and paying taxes.
In 2016, the Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS) from Slovakia decided to fill the gap and the Bureaucracy Index was born. In collaboration with experts from different areas, INESS identified and analyzed all the administrative tasks that the state requires from a model SME company.
Lithuania outstripped its neighbors (Latvia and Poland) and once again was ranked among the top 20 countries in the world in terms of ease of doing business. But Lithuania’s competitors are not sitting around twiddling their thumbs, so last year’s achievement is not guaranteed for this year.
In the most recent ranking of the World Economic forum, which compares the competitiveness of 140 countries around the world, Slovakia ranked 67th. Since we ranked 8 places higher the year before, the media presented this as positive news.
Europe is standing at an essential crossroads. The key challenge here is stopping the decline of international competitiveness.