Free lunches and toilet paper instead of reforms
The coalition party Smer will push through three measures costing €200m in 2019. It will double the cost of Christmas pensions to €150m (the pensions will rise from the current €27-85 to €54-170), increase spending on spas by €10m, and provide free lunches at basic schools, at an annual cost of €106m. Initially, Smer was considering a 13th pension, i.e., the special Christmas pension would have increased to over €400.
SNS will push through a cut in VAT to 10% on tourism services (annual costs of €25m) and €500 travel vouchers. Most-Híd wants lower taxes and levies for sole traders, and subsidized loans for newlyweds. The government maintains that even with these measures, it will attain its goal of balancing the public finances in 2020.
Analysts point out that instead of much needed reforms in education and healthcare, we are getting toilet paper for hospital patients and free lunches for students.