„We all know that the Germans and French want to sell their 49 % in SPP. I think its time to sell very fast because what are they doing at the times of consolidating of public finances? When we are trying to keep people afloat so they can survive these difficult times they come with this immoral proposal at times when the market gas prices are decreasing,“ the Prime Minister Robert Fico said to media representatives during the European Council meeting in Brussels (June, 28-29).
„I consider as absolutely abusive what SPP is presenting in last weeks.“
On June 13th the gas utility Slovenský plynárenský priemysel (SPP) filed for a 17 % rise in regulated gas prices for households.
According to the spokesperson of the SPP Peter Bednár, the reason for the proposed price adjustment is the fact that the company had no opportunity to consider their actual costs from the beginning of this year. At the gas prices adversely impinges also exchange rate of U.S. dollar against the euro.
The Minister of Economy Tomáš Malatinský immediately expressed his disagreement with the proposal. His spokesperson informed media that the ministry will advise the state’s representatives in the Board of Directors to vote in favour of cancelling the price proceedings altogether.
Outraged in Brussels, calm in Berlin
„I would like to tell the owners of 49 % od SPP shares from Germany and France that the colonial period is over. Slovakia is not a colony. They simply come, exaggerate their prices, make a profit and leave,“ he continued in Brussels. „We will use all the legal Instruments to make sure this price hike never happens. In Slovakia we got nothing from these investors. They did not invest in SPP, they just took money, made big fortune and now they are selling with profit again and leaving.“
The sale 49 % of SPP shares was also discussed by Robert Fico and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his official visit to Berlin on Tuesday (June, 3).
The day before the visit he repeated his long-term reservations about E.ON Ruhrgas and GdF Suez and expressed hopes for an SPP shareholder who would be more "tactful" with respect to Slovak consumers.
However, after the meeting it was Fico who was more tactful in his statements. Both leaders reportedly agreed not to mingle in the sale. The Slovak Prime Minsiter said there were no particular statements on this issue.
"These are economical decisions of the company and the Federal Cabinet cannot interfere," Angela Merkel added.
The Czech company Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH) has repeatedly acknowledged its interest in purchase of the 49 % shares but refused to comment on new development.
On Tuesday the Slovak newspaper Sme quoted his spokesperson Martin Maňák: "We confirm interest of the EPH in partnership and cooperation with the state. Currently it is not possible to comment on any further steps."