There are relatively strict and complex state aid rules applied across the developed world. In the EU database alone, there are no less than 33,000 such cases of reported or investigated state aid cases in the last 20 years.
The epidemic of good advice, tips, challenges, and recommendations for the new Slovak government is much stronger than the viral one. There are many things to fix, to improve, and especially – to save.
Slovak public has recently experienced number of front-page stories about patients, who were refused payment for innovative highly expensive drugs by health insurance companies. Stories, which attracted a lot of emotions and stirred the public and which are vanguard of much bigger future troubles in public healthcare.
In Slovakia, one of the least popular offices is the Police Traffic Inspectorate, and, more specifically, the Vehicle Registration Department. Yes, you read it correctly – Slovakia is one of three countries in EU28 where the vehicle registry agenda is fully run by the police.
INESS created a brand new index called Health for Money, which rates healthcare in 26 countries, having also money in focus. The index touches also academia, measuring number of quotable medical papers from the country, or international rankings of faculties of medicine.
Several East European countries have been flirting with various forms of a “retailer tax”. A tax similar (but not equal) to VAT, or the sales tax. Its proclaimed aim is typically to “punish” international retail chains, which have been repeatedly blamed for problems of local farmers and local food and beverages industry.
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.
Mankind has made unbelievable progress in the last one hundred years. From horse carriages to moon landings, from typhus epidemics to molecular genetics, from conservative patriarchate to gay marriages. One thing does not change though – the suspicion, or even hate towards merchants.
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.