Slovakia

   

Executive Capacity

#34
Key Findings
With a number of notable weaknesses, Slovakia receives a relatively low overall score (rank 34) in the area of executive capacity. Its score on this measure has fallen by 0.8 points relative to 2014.

The Government Office lacks strategic-planning capacities and sectoral policy-evaluation expertise. Line ministries draft bills with comparatively little substantive oversight. Informal coordination has also been important, both in coalition councils and – until his departure – under the personal influence of Prime Minister Fico.

A new, stronger RIA methodology has been adopted. The current government engages in little meaningful consultation with societal actors. The March 2018 government reshuffle did little to change policy goals, but implementation of the original electoral manifesto has been limited. Ministerial compliance weakened under the 2016 coalition arrangement, with some ministers resigning after the journalist murders.

The degree of decentralization is relatively high, but funding for subnational governments is precarious. Government agencies demonstrate bias in their enforcement of regulations. The current government has distanced itself from the euroskeptic Visegrad countries, prioritizing EU relations.

Strategic Capacity

#30

How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

10
 9

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
 5
 4
 3


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
4
The institutional capacity for strategic planning in Slovakia is weak. Capacities for planning in the ministries are limited, and there is no central policy planning unit in the Government Office. The fragmented nature and the rigid departmentalism of public administration in the country have complicated strategic planning. So has the high degree of staff turnover which, driven as it is by a politicized public administration, limits the continuity of institutional expertise. The strengthening of the expertise of the Government Office and the creation of the Council for Solidarity and Development (an advisory body established under the second Fico government) have failed to improve planning capacities in any substantial way. The council has been a facade for dialog, primarily used by Prime Minister Fico, who chaired it, for exposing his political plans. Since the government reshuffle in March 2018, the institutional capacity for strategic planning has remained unchanged.

Does the government regularly take into account advice from non-governmental experts during decision-making?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Expert Advice
5
Slovak governments rely on various permanent or temporary advisory committees. Prime ministers have their own advisory body. Prime Minister Fico’s advisers largely came from his circle of associates and include only a few truly independent experts, and this pattern has not changed after the reshuffling of government. There are several public research institutions with close linkages to ministries that are largely dependent on state funding and provide their analysis to the government. However, the impact of any of these bodies on decision-making is not really transparent. Within the ministries, expert advice is provided by so-called “analytical centers,” which are separated units composed of experts with different backgrounds, but a common sense of mission.

Citations:
Sedlačko, M., K. Staroňová (2018). Internal ministerial advisory bodies: An attempt to transform governing in the Slovak Republic, in: Central European Journal of Public Policy 12(1), 1-16.

Interministerial Coordination

#37

Does the government office / prime minister’s office (GO / PMO) have the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills according to the government’s priorities?

10
 9

The GO / PMO provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO evaluates most draft bills according to the government’s priorities.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise but does not evaluate draft bills.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
5
Slovakia has a strong tradition of departmentalism and collegial cabinets, and these two features have deepened under the current coalition, comprised of three very different partners. The Government Office focuses on the legal and technical coherence of draft bills, but lacks the capacity and sectoral expertise to evaluate their policy content.

Citations:
Blondel, J., F. Müller-Rommel, D. Malová et al. (2007): Governing New Democracies. Basingstoke/ London: Palgrave.

To what extent do line ministries involve the government office/prime minister’s office in the preparation of policy proposals?

10
 9

There are inter-related capacities for coordination between GO/PMO and line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO is regularly briefed on new developments affecting the preparation of policy proposals.
 5
 4
 3


Consultation is rather formal and focuses on technical and drafting issues.
 2
 1

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
4
In Slovakia, the government manifesto defines certain priorities that are elaborated in legislative plans. These additionally divide tasks and responsibilities among the line ministries and other central bodies, and set deadlines for the submission of bills to the cabinet. In their policy-development process, the line ministries legally must include a range of institutions and interest groups that are defined as stakeholders in their respective fields. Ministries are also obliged to consult with the Government Office and its legislative council as they develop bills. However, full responsibility for drafting bills has traditionally rested with the line ministries, and consultation with the Government Office is mainly technical. Prime Minister Fico tried to increase the monitoring activities of the Government Office, especially those related to EU structural funds. Peter Pellegrini, his successor, has continued this approach.

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The vast majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
 8
 7
 6


Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
 5
 4
 3


There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
 2
 1

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
6
The importance of cabinet and ministerial committees has varied over time in Slovakia, with every government modifying the committee structure. Since the parliamentary elections in 2016, there has been only one cabinet committee composed exclusively of ministers, the Council for National Security. Other ministerial committees consisting of ministers and senior civil servants and chaired by the four appointed vice prime ministers or line ministers have played a major role in the preparation of government proposals, and have been quite effective in settling controversial issues prior to cabinet meetings. However, they are still neither formally nor systematically involved in the preparation of cabinet meetings, partly as these bodies usually reside at the line ministries.

How effectively do ministry officials/civil servants coordinate policy proposals?

10
 9

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 8
 7
 6


Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 5
 4
 3


There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
 2
 1

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
5
In Slovakia, senior ministry officials have traditionally been heavily involved in the interministerial coordination process at the drafting stage. In contrast, coordination at the lower levels of the ministerial bureaucracy has suffered from a strong departmentalist culture and the top-down approach taken in most ministries. Under the second Fico government, the role of senior civil servants in interministerial coordination decreased and coordination within the Smer-SD party gained importance. Since coming to power after the 2016 elections, SNS and Most-Híd have weakened the role and independence of the civil service by seeking to provide ministerial positions to party members.

How effectively do informal coordination mechanisms complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination?

10
 9

Informal coordination mechanisms generally support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


In most cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
7
Informal coordination has played a significant role in policy coordination since the 2016 parliamentary elections. The new coalition decided to establish a complex system of coalition councils. The coalition council, which coordinates the work of various sub-councils and consists of the chairmen of the three parties in government, meets at least once a month and adopts decisions unanimously. After the coalition crisis in August 2017, the leaders of the coalition partners agreed on measures for better communication, including regular Monday meetings, disclosing their proposals to each other no later than 24 hours before the cabinet session and forming a working group for improving communication between the three parties at the local and regional level. In April 2018, the system was further refined, when Peter Pellegrini, the new prime minister, and Andrej Danko, the leader of the SNS, agreed to hold additional bilateral meetings every Thursday. Until March 2018, there was another form of informal coordination in that Prime Minister Fico continued to capitalize on his weakening, but nonetheless strong role as leader of Smer-SD, the leading party in government.

Citations:
N.N. (2018): Pellegrini and Danko agree on better communication, in: The Slovak Spectator, April 19 (https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20808014/pellegrini-and-danko-agree-on-better-communication.html).

How extensively and effectively are digital technologies used to support interministerial coordination (in policy development and monitoring)?

10
 9

The government uses digital technologies extensively and effectively to support interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


The government uses digital technologies in most cases and somewhat effectively to support interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


The government uses digital technologies to a lesser degree and with limited effects to support interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

The government makes no substantial use of digital technologies to support interministerial coordination.
Digitalization for Interministerial C.
4
Slovakia ranks 20th out of the 28 EU Member States in the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2018, having made progress on previous years, but all in all belonging to the low-performing cluster of countries. In October 2017, the “Detailed Action Plan on the Digitisation of Public Administration” was published. It aims at developing an e-government system for citizens, public administration, businesses and academia. In November 2017, an amendment to the Act on e-Government became effective which has introduced a central delivery system for official documents. As it stands, however, digital technologies play only a limited role in interministerial coordination.

Citations:
European Commission (2018): Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)1 2018. Country Report Slovakia. Brussels (https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/scoreboard/slovakia).

Evidence-based Instruments

#28

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

10
 9

RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 8
 7
 6


RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 5
 4
 3


RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
 2
 1

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
6
When RIAs were introduced in Slovakia back in 2001, no central unit in charge of RIA was created at the government’s core. In response, the first Fico government introduced a Uniform Methodology of Assessment of Selected Impacts in 2008, which was updated by the Radičová government in 2010. The “RIA 2020 Better Regulation Strategy” which was approved by the cabinet in January 2018 has further strengthened the methodological basis for assessing the economic impact of regulation in particular. However, impact assessments only apply to measures initiated by the government, and ministries still often struggle with the quantification of wider impacts, focusing mainly on budgetary impacts and, to a lesser extent, impacts on business.

Citations:
OECD (2019): Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Europe 2019: Slovak Republic. Paris (http://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/indicators-of-regulatory-policy-and-governance-2019-slovak-republic.pdf).

Staroňová, K. (2016): Regulatory Impact Assessment in Slovakia: Performance and Procedural Reform, in: Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 34(3): 214-227.

Staronova, K., Hejzlarová, E., Hondliková, K. (2017): Making Regulatory Impact Assessment Gender-Sensitive: The Case of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in: Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences 51(E): 89-105 (http://rtsa.ro/tras/index.php/tras/article/download/526/515).

World Bank (2018): Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance. Washington, D.C. (http://rulemaking.worldbank.org/en/data/explorecountries/slovak-republic#).

Does the RIA process ensure participation, transparency and quality evaluation?

10
 9

RIA analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis.
 8
 7
 6


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to one of the three objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to two of the three objectives.
 2
 1

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
5
Procedures for public consultations in the later stage of the regulation-making process are well developed, and include the automatic publication of all legislative documents on the government portal. However, the strong focus of Slovak RIA on the impact on the business sector means that business associations are involved in the process more strongly than other stakeholders. Quality control suffers from fragmentation. In the Permanent Working Committee of the Legislative Council, four ministries are involved in checking the quality of regulatory impact assessments (Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family), with the Economic Analysis Division of the Ministry of Economy playing a coordinating role.

Does the government conduct effective sustainability checks within the framework of RIA?

10
 9

Sustainability checks are an integral part of every RIA; they draw on an exhaustive set of indicators (including social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability) and track impacts from the short- to long-term.
 8
 7
 6


Sustainability checks lack one of the three criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
3
Slovakia took part in the 2018 voluntary national review of the UN’s High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and has initiated a review of the country’s national sustainable development strategy with a view to incorporating the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The RIA methodology manual requires that sustainability concerns be incorporated in assessment reports. In practice, however, sustainability checks do not feature very prominently and are not done in a comprehensive manner.

Citations:
Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic (2018): Voluntary National Review of the Slovak Republic on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Bratislava (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/20131Agenda2030_VNR_Slovakia.pdf).

To what extent do government ministries regularly evaluate the effectiveness and/or efficiency of public policies and use results of evaluations for the revision of existing policies or development of new policies?

10
 9

Ex post evaluations are carried out for all significant policies and are generally used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 8
 7
 6


Ex post evaluations are carried out for most significant policies and are used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 5
 4
 3


Ex post evaluations are rarely carried out for significant policies and are rarely used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 2
 1

Ex post evaluations are generally not carried out and do not play any relevant role for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
Quality of Ex Post Evaluation
3
Ex post evaluations have not been required by law so far. If they have been carried out, they have focused mainly on administrative burdens. However, the RIA 2020 Better Regulation Strategy, as approved by cabinet in January 2018, has envisaged more systematic ex post evaluations.

Societal Consultation

#28

Does the government consult with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner?

10
 9

The government always consults with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner.
 8
 7
 6


The government in most cases consults with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner.
 5
 4
 3


The government does consult with societal actors, but mostly in an unfair and clientelistic manner.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Public Consultation
5
In Slovakia, comprehensive legal requirements for the consultation with societal actors, including social dialog in the tripartite Economic and Social Council, exist. However, the third Smer-SD-led government has not assigned much importance to consultation with societal actors. In cases where consultations have taken place, they have been driven primarily by the fact that they were required by a law. The Council for Solidarity and Development newly established by the second Fico government in 2012 has not included social and environmental NGOs or representatives of national minorities. As in previous years, the tripartite consultation on the minimum wage failed, so that the cabinet decided to raise the minimum wage unilaterally. A few months after his resignation, Fico was cited in the national journal “Sme” lamenting about the third sector “silently crawling to power.” Despite the chasm in the Slovak society, the new prime Minister Peter Pellegrini has not tried to increase the legitimacy of its government by taking public consultation more seriously.

Citations:
Fico, R. (2018): Kto má vládnuť? Konflikt s médiami nie je škodlivý, in: Sme, August 1 (https://komentare.sme.sk/c/20882709/kto-ma-vladnut-pise-robert-fico.html).

Policy Communication

#25

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

Ministries are highly successful in aligning their communication with government strategy.
 8
 7
 6


Ministries most of the time are highly successful in aligning their communication with government strategy.
 5
 4
 3


Ministries occasionally issue public statements that contradict the public communication of other ministries or the government strategy.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually consistent with the government’s strategy.
Coherent Communication
5
The formation of a coalition government after the 2016 parliamentary elections has made it more difficult to streamline government communication. However, until the coalition crisis in August 2017, SNS and Most-Híd, the junior coalition partners, were cautious to avoid engaging in open conflict. In the 2018 government crisis, Smer-SD’s coalition partners were initially demanding the resignation of the minister of interior, but as more was revealed, they pushed Prime Minister Fico to step down. Eventually, all coalition partners agreed to not hold early elections but continue in this government constellation with a new prime minister. Occasionally, the policy statements of individual ministers have deviated from the government strategy designed in the program manifesto.

Implementation

#35

To what extent can the government achieve its own policy objectives?

10
 9

The government can largely implement its own policy objectives.
 8
 7
 6


The government is partly successful in implementing its policy objectives or can implement some of its policy objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The government partly fails to implement its objectives or fails to implement several policy objectives.
 2
 1

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Effectiveness
5
The government manifesto of the third Fico government reiterated many goals of his previous ones. Although it comprised around 70 pages, it lacked action plans, timelines and budgets. After the reshuffling of the government in March 2018, the new prime minister did not formulate new policies goals but declared to adhere to the existing manifesto. The implementation of the manifesto has been limited. Long-due reform projects in education and health care have been or delayed or tackled in an erratic manner. The same applies to the promised improvement of the public transport infrastructure, as highway and railway construction has been subject to several delays. In November 2018, the governing coalition withdrew (for reasons that remain unclear) from parliamentary discussion a draft of Slovakia’s new defense and security strategy, which was supposed to replace its valid but highly outdated 2005 strategy.

To what extent does the organization of government provide mechanisms to ensure that ministers implement the government’s program?

10
 9

The organization of government successfully provides strong mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 8
 7
 6


The organization of government provides some mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 5
 4
 3


The organization of government provides weak mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 2
 1

The organization of government does not provide any mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
6
Since the 2016 elections, ministerial compliance has been complicated by the fact that the government rests on an “unnatural” coalition that includes parties as diverse as the Slovak National Party (SNS) and the mostly Hungarian minority based party Most-Híd (Bridge). The vagueness of the government manifesto has allowed ministers to pursue sectoral interests and to follow party lines. Some of the ministers of the junior coalition partners are political newcomers who have proven difficult to integrate. Those nominated by the SNS have felt committed to the oligarchs behind the party leadership. After the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová, several ministers resigned, either involuntarily or by choice. The new Prime Minister Pellegrini has relied on “loyal” candidates in filling the open positions.

How effectively does the government office/prime minister’s office monitor line ministry activities with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The GO / PMO effectively monitors the implementation activities of all line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of some line ministries.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
6
When returning to power in 2012, Prime Minister Robert Fico expanded the Government Office’s responsibilities in monitoring line ministries, particularly with respect to European affairs and economic and fiscal issues. Since the 2016 parliamentary elections, monitoring has remained strong in the case of ministries in the hands of Smer-SD, but has weakened in the ministries led by its coalition partners.

How effectively do federal and subnational ministries monitor the activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The ministries effectively monitor the implementation activities of all bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 8
 7
 6


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of most bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of some bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 2
 1

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies|Bureaucracies
5
Slovakia features a large number of agencies increasingly subject to politicization. Leaders of agencies or semi-autonomous entities are selected on the basis of their party affiliation and social connections (family bonds) rather than their expertise and public reputation. The politicization of agencies has not changed under the third Fico and the Pellegrini governments.

Citations:
Nemec, J. (2018): Slovakia, in: N. Thijs, G. Hammerschmid (eds.), Public Administration Characteristics and Performance in EU28. Luxemburg: European Union, 896-897 (https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/a7c9b4c2-960 f-11e8-8bc1-01aa75ed71a1/language-en).

To what extent does the central government ensure that tasks delegated to subnational self-governments are adequately funded?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to fulfill all their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 8
 7
 6


The central government enables subnational governments to fulfill most of their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 5
 4
 3


The central government sometimes and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational governments.
 2
 1

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
6
In Slovakia, the degree of decentralization is relatively high. However, funding for subnational governments has been precarious. About a third of the revenues come from state transfers. While the shares of both municipalities and regional self-governments in personal income tax revenues have substantially risen since 2014, subnational governments have continued to complain about unfunded mandates. Their strong reliance on personal income tax has made their revenues highly dependent on the performance of the economy. Nonetheless, the Association of Towns and Communities of Slovakia (ZMOS) is a powerful player and has been relatively successful in articulating the interests of municipalities vis-à-vis the central government.

Citations:
Nemec, J. (2018): Slovakia, in: N. Thijs, G. Hammerschmid (eds.), Public Administration Characteristics and Performance in EU28. Luxemburg: European Union, 891-894 (https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/a7c9b4c2-960f-11e8-8bc1-01aa75ed71a1/language-en).

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments may use their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to make full use of their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 8
 7
 6


Central government policies inadvertently limit the subnational self-governments’ scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 5
 4
 3


The central government formally respects the constitutional autonomy of subnational self-governments, but de facto narrows their scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 2
 1

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
3
All Fico-led governments pursued a hands-on approach limiting the constitutional discretion of subnational governments. After the 2016 elections, the politics of direct patronage for party-loyal municipalities (such as building sports facilities in towns and villages led by Smer-SD party members) has continued under the third Fico government. The pattern may change in the months following the municipal elections held in November 2018, as Smer-SD lost all regional capitals to predominantly independent candidates or candidates supported by the opposition parties. Most of the persons elected represent a different generation and a different attitude toward subnational self-government.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services?

10
 9

Central government effectively ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 8
 7
 6


Central government largely ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 5
 4
 3


Central government ensures that subnational self-governments realize national minimum standards of public services.
 2
 1

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
4
Public-service standards are poorly defined, especially with regard to the independent functions of subnational governments. Moreover, the monitoring of compliance with these standards is often fragmented. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for overseeing subnational self-government, but largely focuses on formal compliance with existing laws and cost efficiency. While the ministry regularly monitors all levels of self-government, the number of breaches of the law and the extent and effects of ministerial intervention are not transparent. Clearly, there are differences between national and EU standards that negatively influence the effective use of EU structural funds.

To what extent is government enforcing regulations in an effective and unbiased way, also against vested interests?

10
 9

Government agencies enforce regulations effectively and without bias.
 8
 7
 6


Government agencies, for the most part, enforce regulations effectively and without bias.
 5
 4
 3


Government agencies enforce regulations, but ineffectively and with bias.
 2
 1

Government agencies enforce regulations ineffectively, inconsistently and with bias.
Regulatory Enforcement
3
A core weakness of the Slovak public administration system is the politicization of public decision-making and the influence of economic lobbies and other organized interest groups on policymaking. Thus, government agencies tend to enforce regulations ineffectively and demonstrate bias in their activity.

Adaptability

#25

To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

10
 9

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 8
 7
 6


In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 2
 1

The government has not adapted domestic government structures, no matter how beneficial adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
5
In the past, Slovakia’s ability to adapt domestic government structures to international and supranational developments, most notably at the EU level, has been weak and its performance ambiguous and confusing. Despite several attempts at reform, the rate of absorption of EU funds has remained low, as the absorption of EU funds has been hindered by dysfunctional planning procedures, poor project design and selection, and the failure to comply with the requirements of environmental impact assessments. Recommendations by EU or international organizations like the OECD, Council of Europe or U.N. divisions have been considered selectively.

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively with international efforts to foster global public goods?

10
 9

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
 8
 7
 6


The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
 5
 4
 3


The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
 2
 1

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
6
Because of its size, Slovakia’s capacity to shape strategic global frameworks is limited. For a long time, the country was eager to be seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner within NATO and European Union. However, Slovakia’s reputation and standing in the EU have suffered from the Radičová government’s positions on the Greek debt crisis, Slovakia’s joining of ranks with the other Visegrád countries in the EU refugee crisis, and Prime Minister Fico’s “flirt” with Russia. In the period under review, however, Fico and his successor Pellegrini have clearly sought to position Slovakia in the core of the EU and have been keen on distancing themselves from aspects of the positions taken by Hungary and Poland. In 2018, Slovakia has also been actively involved in two major international initiatives. It participated in the voluntary national review of the SDGs and elevated them to a national priority. Moreover, as acting UN General Assembly president from September 2017 to September 2018, the Slovak foreign minister Miroslav Lajčák, was intensively involved in the formulation of the UN’s Global Migration Compact. Eventually, however, the SNS, one of the junior coalition partners, prevented the Slovak signing of the Global Migration Compact.

Organizational Reform

#38

To what extent do actors within the government monitor whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate?

10
 9

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
 5
 4
 3


The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
 2
 1

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
3
There is no regular and systematic self-monitoring of institutional arrangements in Slovakia. Governments and governmental bodies (such as the parliament, Government Office) must issue annual reports and a final report at the end of their term in office, however, these documents focus more on policies and formal financial accounting rather than institutional design. In addition, there are sporadic audits within particular ministries. The institutions and processes of governing are analyzed only infrequently and selectively. Shortcomings in audit procedures persist.

To what extent does the government improve its strategic capacity by changing the institutional arrangements of governing?

10
 9

The government improves its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements.
 8
 7
 6


The government improves its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 5
 4
 3


The government does not improve its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 2
 1

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
5
Since the parliamentary elections in June 2016, the institutional arrangements of governing have remained largely unchanged. The new Pellegrini government has not initiated any major institutional reforms so far. However, there has been some progress with the implementation of earlier reforms. In January 2018, the new Civil Service Council, an independent coordinating and monitoring body, eventually began operating.
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