October 2020 - May 2023

The Slovak system of public administration, composed of the central level, de-concentrated state administration units in the form of self-governing regions, and local governments, faces challenges in its proper functioning.

The 2016 Report of the Monitoring Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe expressed concerns over the weakness of the current system of communication and co-operation between the regional and the local level, both independently connected only to the central level, which results in a frequent overlapping of responsibilities. It also notes the difficult financial situation in some local authorities due to the weak financing in the domain of investment costs, notably public services and infrastructures; and the present status of the capital city of Bratislava which does not enable a unified decision-making at city level.

The European Union (EU) in its 2019 Country Report - Slovakia also notes insufficient cooperation between the national, regional and local levels and the high fragmentation of the municipalities that creates high overheads and harms the effectiveness of the local government. Thus, the financing capacities of municipalities are often restricted to providing basic public services and infrastructure, thereby diverting resources from social services, education, land planning and construction permits.

Some of the reported challenges have been addressed through the Council of Europe’s project “Delivering Good Governance in Slovakia” while others will be tackled via an additional technical assistance project of the Council of Europe.

At the request of the Government of the Slovak Republic, the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance has started the implementation of the follow up project “Delivering Good Governance in Slovakia – II phase”, co-funded by the European Commission via the Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM). It should build up on the results of the previous project and provide suggestions for supporting the planned reform in compliance with European standards in the area of good democratic governance. In particular, the project will contribute through:

1. Provision of Recommendations to the Slovak authorities for improving the framework related to separate types of local government units, through preparation of legal and policy advice on:

  • strengthening of the status of cities and municipalities;
  • the competences, powers, finances and the coordinating role of the regional level of self-government in Slovakia;
  • the status of the Capital City Bratislava and the City Košice; and
  • strengthening the financial independence of local and regional governments and enhancing their financial management capacities.

2. Supporting the regional and local authorities in improving the delivery of public services to their citizens, by implementing the following Council of Europe capacity-building tools:

  • Strategic Municipal Planning - to assist in setting out the aims and objectives of the city/region for the medium-term future, including the aspect of citizen participation.
  • Public Ethics Benchmarking - to help the authorities assess corruption risks, improve public ethics morals according to the Council of Europe standards and develop ethical infrastructure at local and national level.
  • Local finance benchmarking - to ensure best use of available resources at central and/or local level.
  • Preparation of programs and other materials as a follow up to the National Training Strategy (NTS) delivered under the 1st phase of the project.
  • European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) - to increase knowledge of the selected municipalities/regions on the principles of good democratic governance by implementing a second round of ELoGE.