CENTRE OF GOVERNMENT PROFILE
[As at May 1998]
|The Government||The Government
Members of the Government are: the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and ministers.
If a minister is unable to attend the Government session, the State Secretary concerned may act as his/her substitute.
Other participants of Government sessions are the Director of the Government Office and the designated officials of other central bodies of State administration holding an advisory vote, expert advisors to the Prime Minister, and the designated Heads of Departments of the Government Office. Government members have the right to invite expert advisors who drafted or submitted the material concerned on individual items of the agenda.
Government sessions take place on a weekly basis, normally on Tuesdays. Extraordinary sessions of the Government are convened whenever it is necessary to ensure the fulfillment of a strategic task or to adopt a decision without delay.
The agenda of Government sessions is outlined, in general terms, by the Plan of Work of the Government and by the Plan of Legislative Tasks of the Government for the given year.
Draft agenda of individual Government sessions is prepared by the Department for Governmental Agenda of the Government Office. Members of the Government and heads of other central bodies of State administration have the right to propose individual items to be included on the agenda.
As a rule, the agenda of Government sessions is distributed to Members of the Government and heads of other central bodies of State administration five days before the session.
Government sessions may be split into sections, eg the section for decisions that do not call for a discussion and the section that calls for a discussion, sections devoted to general discussion or information.
|The preparation of submissions
A method-related or legislative motion may be presented by Government members and heads of other central State administration bodies. Such motions are presented to the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the legislation so as to comply with the requirements of the legislative process and the subsequent review by the Government.
The procedure used in the drafting and presentation of individual motions and/or materials is laid down in the Guidelines for the Drafting and Presentation of Materials for Government Sessions.
Materials presented must reflect the result of consultations with the ministries concerned and, where appropriate, with non-governmental entities, such as social partners and interest groupings.
Materials presented must contain an estimate of the financial implications. This estimate must be discussed and agreed with the Ministry of Finance.
The Government Office supplies preliminary materials to be discussed at Government sessions in advance to Government members and, when necessary and applicable, also to the heads of other central bodies of State administration.
To ensure that certain tasks be urgently carried out or in connection with certain materials of high significance, draft documents may be presented directly at the Government session upon their preliminary inclusion in the agenda of the session concerned.
|The preparation of decisions
Before any material is put on the agenda of a session, it is subjected to an inter-ministerial comments procedure. Materials are also discussed within individual Government's advisory bodies or individual ministries. The ministry concerned organises preparatory meetings. The task of such preparatory or advisory meetings is to subject individual materials to a comprehensive and substantive examination; this examination and formulation of expert opinions is a precondition for submitting the materials and putting them on the agenda of Government sessions or for their further completion on the basis of comments put forward at such meetings or on the basis of opinions expressed by the Government's advisory bodies.
|Decision making and recording
The Government takes decisions either by consensus or by a vote.
Government decisions are put on record by the Government Office's Governmental Agenda Department which draws up the authentic record, including a written transcript.
The record specifies the names of ministers assigned with the implementation of the material concerned and/or designates the minister in charge of the co-ordination and implementation of all aspects of the decision. It also sets the time-limit for implementation and specifies the corresponding budget and staffing requirements.
|Implementation of decisions
The record of the decision is distributed to members of the Government, heads of other central State administration bodies, the National Council of Slovakia, the President of Slovakia and the concerned entities. Decisions are distributed by the Government Office immediately after they have been signed by the Prime Minister.
The implementation of individual tasks set forth in resolutions is examined on a periodical (quarterly) basis, both as regards the time line and the substance, by the Control Department of the Government Office, and assessed by the Government.
If the decisions are not implemented in harmony with the objectives pursued by the Government, Government Office has the right to intervene.
The Government Office has the right to ask the ministries to present reports on the stage of implementation of Government-approved materials.
|Legislative and regulatory procedures
The process of drafting legal regulations in Slovakia starts with the taking of legislative initiative. Under the Constitution of Slovakia such initiative, involving the passage of laws, is vested in individual committees and members of the National Council of Slovakia and the Government of Slovakia . This is a standardized process, ie one regulated by, in particular, the Legislative Rules of the Government and Guidelines for Drafting and Presenting the Materials for Sessions of the Government of Slovakia. Central bodies of State administration of Slovakia have the power to adopt generally binding implementing regulations (whose scope is given by the ministry's sphere of competence) only if they are authorised to do so under a law adopted by the National Council of Slovakia, and exclusively within the boundaries thereof. Any legal regulation issued at the level of a ministry should, in principle, have the form of an ordinance. The adoption of legal regulations at ministerial level is regulated in detail by the above mentioned Legislative Rules.
The implementation of a legislative motion takes place in two stages. Stage one involves the drafting and examination of legal principles, stage two involves the formulation of the preliminary draft, its presentation, debate and, after it has been passed, its publication. The secondary legislation is drafted in a single stage.
Legislative activities are governed by the generally applicable regulations, methods, and techniques for drafting legal regulations. They take place in accordance with the plan of legislative tasks of the Government, individual sectors and other bodies vested with legislative power. They are included in the plans of the main tasks of the respective entities for the period concerned, based on the Government Programme.
The Constitution of Slovakia vests legislative responsibility in the National Council of Slovakia, the Government of Slovakia, the Government ministries and other State administration bodies which exercise this responsibility under authority provided by law to adopt generally binding secondary legislation, and with the municipalities, if the matters that fall under the jurisdiction of regional self-government are to be provided for by means of generally binding regulations.
Substantive and organisational aspects of the fulfilment of legislative tasks of the Government Office are dealt with by the Governmental Legislation Department. This Department secures the drafting of governmental bills, oversees and provides methodical guidance to other central bodies of State administration, and ensures publication of governmental decrees in the Collection of Laws of Slovakia. It ensures that legislative materials, submitted to the Government, have the necessary standard as regards their contents and form. It ensures and oversees, in conjunction with the Institute for the Approximation of Laws, the compliance with the European Union law of legislative materials submitted to the Government.
An important place in the Government's legislative activities belongs to the Legislative Council of the Government. The Council is a co-ordinating, advisory and initiative-taking organ of the Government that, in particular, gives comments on concepts of the Government's legislative policy, discusses and takes positions on legislative materials submitted to the Government, and co-ordinates activities of bodies vested with legislative powers.
|Subordinate Bodies of the Council of Ministers
Government Advisory Bodies
The Government sets up, in connection with certain aspects of their activities, advisory and co-ordinating bodies (councils, committees, commissions). Chairpersons, their deputies and other members of these organs are appointed by the Government. Their main tasks, compositions and methods of work are regulated under their respective statutes, approved by the Government.
The Government has established the following Government advisory bodies:
A special organ is the Council of Economic and Social Consensus of Slovakia. The Government appoints the Council President, Secretary and Members of the Council representing the Government of Slovakia. Other Members of the Council are appointed by the trade unions and employers.
In addition to the above advisory organs, the Government designates and appoints Government Commissioners for specific and, as a rule, long-term tasks. A Commission, like the Government's advisory bodies, is an advisory, co-ordinating and control organ of the Government for a specific problem area. The Commissioner is accountable for his or her activities to the Government. The appointment of a Government Commissioner does not prejudice the authority and responsibility of a minister or head of another central body of State administration in the given field.
Structure of the Government Office
The Office consists of:
Political Analysis Department: carries out analyses of political subjects, international development, effectiveness of governmental activities.
Economic Policy Department: carries out the tasks and provides supporting services in the field of macroeconomic relations, sectoral policies and international economic relations.
Government Legislation Department: fulfils the tasks in the area of standard-setting activities, including participation in the standard-setting activities of the National Council of Slovakia concerning activities of central bodies of State administration.
Department for Social and Spiritual Development and Minority Issues: secures the fulfilment of tasks and provides supporting services in the areas of education, culture, health, social relations, churches, minority policy and non-profit sector.
European Integration Department: co-ordinating unit for European integration processes and implementation of the Europe Agreement between the European Union and its Member Countries and Slovakia.
Defence and Security Department: secures specific tasks of the Government Office in the field of security, protection and defence of the State; it comprises the General Secretariat of the Committee of Ministers for Drug Addiction and Drug Control.
Foreign Assistance Department: secures and co-ordinates the Phare national programme and, in co-operation with individual ministries, prepares indicative Phare programmes and annual Phare action programmes.
Information Department: ensures contact with the mass media, takes part in public opinion shaping; Prime Minister's spokesperson and Government spokesperson belong to this organisational unit.
Governmental Agenda Department: secures agenda for Government sessions and conducts related activities; filing and archive-keeping services.
Department for Information and Rationalisation of State Administration: secures the formulation of the concept and development of information systems and management of the co-ordination of the exercise of local state administration.
Personnel Department: is in charge of all employment-related affairs, provides methodical and co-ordinating activities in the area of personnel management and professional upgrading of employees of central bodies of State administration.
Foreign Relations and Protocol Department: secures protocol in receiving and organising foreign visits.
Control Department: is in charge, in particular, of monitoring the implementation of Government resolutions, provides methodical guidance in control-related issues to other central bodies of State administration, carries out internal audit at the Government Office, keeps records of petitions, complaints, notifications and motions and processes them within the scope of its competence.
Economic Department: is in charge of drafting the budget of the Government Office and its subordinated organisations, secures record keeping, statistics, takes care of wage-related issues and fulfils treasury service at the Government Office.
The position of the Director of the Government Office is filled by Governmental appointment.
The Director of the Government Office manages, guides and controls the activities of the Government Office and acts on its behalf. In matters related to the professional, organisational and technical support for activities of the Government and its bodies, the Director of the Government Office works under the supervision of the Prime Minister. The Director of the Government Office is accountable for the performance of this function to the Government and to the Prime Minister.
The Director of the Office also has the power to appoint and recall his or her deputy, heads of professional units and directors of subordinate organisations with the consent of the Prime Minister.
The Head of the Personnel Department has no special position in the hierarchy and his or her status is equal to that of the heads of other units. He/she is accountable for activities of the personnel management unit at the Government Office.
Employees of the Government Office are not politically appointed. They are regular employees to whom provisions of the Labour Code fully apply. In accordance with their appointment and competence they take part in the advisory, professional and initiative-taking service for the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Director of the Government Office.
The staff of the Prime Minister's Secretariat includes economic advisors - employees of the Government Office who provide advisory and analytical service to the Prime Minister in the economic area on the problems under discussion. Their status is, essentially, independent.
|FOR FURTHER INFORMATION||Government Office of Slovakia
Nemestie slobody 12
813 70 Bratislava
Tel.: (42-1) 3595 111
Fax: (42-1) 391-647