Slovakia Unitary state
A recently adopted constitutional law lays out stronger rules with regard to the public debt of local and regional authorities.
A constitutional law on the budgetary accountability of local and regional authorities was adopted in March 2012. This legislative change sets out in particular new ﬁnancing mechanisms for local and regional authorities in Slovakia as well as new rules on indebtedness that are to go into eﬀect beginning in 2015. Another bill calls for the merger of decentralised state administrative oﬃces (without self-government status). Today, there are 248 such units, although they are to be merged with existing 72 distcricts (okres) by the autumn of 2013.
Recent statements of the Prime Minister and the President have opened a public debate on the possibility of merging eight regions. The new map reﬂecting such territorial organisation in Slovakia might therefore only indicate three regions, with Bratislava as a part of West-Slovak Region, or the so-called “3+1 model” with Bratislava as a special territorial unit with regional competences. These suggestions may lead to a reform, which could be introduced as early as 2017. While there is no oﬃcial plan in progress to decentralise further competences, the government has launched a programme proposed and supported by the national Association of towns and communities to audit local ﬁnances and competences. Depending on the results, it could lead to proposals of competence changes in 2014.
Local self-government in Slovakia:
The territorial reforms being undertaken and discussed do not seem to compromise the autonomy of Slovak local and regional authorities, but their outcomes are still unclear and are to be decided by the outgoing audit. It is worth noting that good relations based on cooperation exist between the national association of towns and communities, a member of CEMR, and the Slovak authorities.