Dutch firm Achmea loses arbitration against SLOVAK state

30 May 2014 —
THE ARBITRATION proceedings initiated by Dutch company Achmea, the owner of the health insurer Union, against the Slovak government, which plans to merge the three existing health insurers and introduce a unitary state system of health insurance, ended with a victory for Slovakia.

"The arbitration court held that the concept and implementation of public health insurance is fully in the hands of the state," the Finance Ministry informed the SITA newswire. "It also stated that the tribunal has no right to interfere with the democratic process of a sovereign state and has no jurisdiction to adjudicate in this matter."

Achmea initiated the arbitration proceedings against Slovakia over the impending expropriation of the private health insurance companies, which the Slovak government does not rule out as an option for its plans to launch a single state-operated health insurance company. The Dutch company argued that expropriation would not be in the public interest, subject to due process of law, and would be discriminatory, claiming also that this step would be inconsistent with the bilateral agreement on investments between The Netherlands and the once federative state of Czechoslovakia [which was then split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, ed. note.].

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