Context of the peer review of the Slovak Republic

Political and economic context

The Slovak Republic had a population of 5.4 million and a gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 30 460 per capita in 2016 (OECD, 2017a). It is a parliamentary democracy with a single chamber and a single constituency. A coalition government has been led by the Social Democracy (Smer) party since March 2016, with the next elections due in 2020. A period of political unrest in February/March 2018 followed the murder of a journalist who had been investigating organised crime. The Prime Minister, Interior Minister (also President of Police Force) and Minister of Culture resigned to safeguard political stability.

The Slovak economy continues to perform extremely well both in terms of macroeconomic outcomes and public finances. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 3.5% on average in 2015-16 and is projected to stay between 3.5% and 4% in 2017-18 (OECD, 2017b). The budget deficit was well below 2% of GDP in 2016 and public debt was 52% of GDP, far below the OECD average. The government is aiming for a balanced budget by 2020.

The Slovak Republic nonetheless faces challenges to ensure a more sustainable and inclusive society. While the unemployment rate has fallen below 10%, its lowest level in seven years, employment levels are still below the OECD average and are particularly low for women with small children, and disadvantaged groups such as the Roma. Population ageing, which is projected to be one of the sharpest in the OECD, will pose a long-term challenge for fiscal policy and higher living standards (OECD, 2017c).

Development co-operation system

The Slovak Republic established an official development co-operation programme in 2003. In 2007 the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA) established the Slovak Agency for International Development Co-operation (SAIDC). Finally, the Slovak Republic became a fully-fledged member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2013.

The MFEA is the designated National Co-ordinator of development co-operation, managing one-quarter of the Slovak Republic’s official development assistance budget in 2016. The Ministry of Finance managed two-thirds of the ODA budget, with the rest spread across a number of line ministries (MFEA, 2017a). The Coordination Committee of the Slovak Development Co-operation advises the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and is tasked with co-ordinating government and non-government players (MFEA, 2017b). It includes representatives from the state administration, non-government development organisations, academia, private sector, the National Council (parliament), the European Parliament and the media. Due to the timing of the visit in March 2018, the review team was unable to meet any parliamentary bodies.

As this is the first development co-operation peer review of the Slovak Republic, it places strong emphasis on learning and on setting a baseline for Slovak development co-operation in the future. The report nonetheless holds the Slovak Republic to account for the commitments it has made domestically and internationally, as well as for progress against the recommendations of the 2011Special Review (OECD, 2011) and 2015 Mid-term Review (OECD, 2011).

References

MFEA (2017a), “Annual report of the development cooperation of the Slovak Republic”, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Bratislava, http://www.rokovania.sk/Rokovanie.aspx/BodRokovaniaDetail?idMaterial=26455.

MFEA (2017b), “OECD DAC Peer Review 2018: Memorandum of the Slovak Republic”, unpublished, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Bratislava.

OECD (2017a), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), database, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/dc2f7aec-en.

OECD (2017b), OECD Economic Survey: Slovak Republic 2017, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-slovak-republic.htm.

OECD (2017c), OECD Employment Outlook 2017, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/empl_outlook-2017-en.

OECD (2015) “DAC mid-term review of the Slovak Republic, unpublished, 7 October 2015.

OECD (2011) “DAC special review of the Slovak Republic”, Paris

https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/49512222.pdf.

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