Fico has not turned Slovakia into a social state
The three Robert Fico governments in power since 2006 have not turned Slovakia into a social state. Social spending remains low, at just 18% of GDP, while the EU average is just under 30%. Slovakia therefore spends little on unemployment, housing subsidies, social inclusion, and family and child benefits. One reason for this is a relatively low tax intake, despite income tax and payroll levy rates for employees being the 5th highest in the EU. Slovakia imposes low taxes on firms and assets such as real estate. This year, the government even increased payroll levies for the worst off, by abolishing the health payroll levy deductible. The key Fico social measures have been increased childbirth and maternity benefits, introduction of Christmas pensions and a minimum pension, free train fares for students and seniors, and lower VAT on basic food items.