DE RUEHSL #0498 3311420
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 271420Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0287
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHSL/AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA 0335 UNCLAS BRATISLAVA 000498
STATE FOR EUR/CE M. LIBBY AND J. MOORE
STATE FOR INR/EUR A. HARMATA
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: SLOVAK PRESIDENT SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL "STRATEGIC ENTERPRISES"
REF: BRATISLAVA 464
1. (U) Despite strong, unified opposition from both labor unions
and the business community, President Gasparovic yesterday
signed the "Strategic Enterprises" law (reftel) that was rushed
through Parliament with little debate earlier this month. All
of the international chambers of commerce present in Slovakia
opposed the legislation, and ten of the chambers took the
somewhat unusual step of sending a joint letter to the President
asking that he veto the law. There was also considerable
domestic opposition, as both the Trade Union Confederation and
the Slovak Federation of Employers Association--which has
enjoyed good relations with the current government--spoke out
against the legislation.
2. (SBU) Jake Slegers, Executive Director of the American
Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia, told us he was a bit surprised
that Gasparovic signed the law. He said that the President's
office had indicated to him in the past week that a veto was
likely, and he told us of a November 9 meeting between labor,
business, and government leaders presided over by Labor Minister
Viera Tomanova, where all sides agreed to jointly recommend that
Gasparovic veto the legislation. Stressing that opposition to
the legislation existed even at the cabinet level, Slegers
speculated that PM Robert Fico personally pressured Gasparovic
to sign the law.
3. (U) As described reftel, the Strategic Enterprises Law will
allow the Slovak government to nationalize "strategic" companies
whose shutdown would have a "wide social impact." Minister of
Economy Lubomir Jahnatek has downplayed the legislation,
describing it simply as an anti-crisis measure that will expire
at the end of 2010. Many observers see the law primarily as an
effort to avoid the loss of 1500 jobs at the Novacke Chemicke
Zavody (NCZ) chemical factory that recently declared bankruptcy,
and not necessarily directed at other companies. Fico has
stated publicly, however, that he may seek to extend the law
past its expiration next year.
4. (SBU) This law was a rushed effort to head off the potential
political damage that would result from job loss at the factory
in an election year. The cabinet clearly did not anticipate the
firestorm that followed the legislation's approval, and it's
surprising that the law wasn't subsequently modified to make it
more palatable to business and labor interests. Given the
damage this law is likely to cause to relations with business
leaders, Fico or someone in his immediate circle must have
pushed very hard to have the law signed.
This website hosts an archive of all 251,287 US Embassy diplomatic cables that were released by WikiLeaks between November 28, 2010 and September 2, 2011.
While the cables are generally available at http://wikileaks.org/cablegate.html
, we find it hard to search or even navigate the site to read the cables.
We have made all 251,287 cables available here at Dazzlepod with the hope to make it easier for readers to browse, search, share and discuss about the released cables.
The cables are periodically selected and posted to our Twitter page
and Facebook page
for readers to review them.
For comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com