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SLOVAKIA


 

 

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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 31,868 23,700 20,500 59
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 4,920 3,950 3,760 73
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 120 - (30/05/07)

A year on from elections and new government
For eight years Slovakia had a right-wing, reformist government under Mikulas Dzurinda that won the plaudits of Brussels and Washington, but not latterly from the Slovak people.

Slovak voters renewed their legislative branch in June 2006. Final results placed Smer-led by Robert Fico-as the top party in the European country with 50 seats. In July, Fico officially took over as prime minister, in a coalition encompassing Smer, the SNS and the HZDS.

On Apr. 19, Fico praised the work of the legislature following a unanimous approval of a draft revision of the country's Labour Code, declaring, "The Slovak Labour Code has a chance of becoming a modern European labour norm, if it is approved by parliament."

Slight Drop for Ruling Smer
Slovakia's governing Party Direction - Third Way (Smer) remains stronger than any other political organization in the country, according to a poll by UVVM. 42.9 per cent of respondents would support Smer in the next legislative election, down 2.4 points since March.

The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU) is second with 13.1 per cent, followed by the Slovak National Party (SNS) with 11 per cent, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) with 10.4 per cent, the Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK) also with 10.4 per cent, and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) with 8.9 per cent.

Parties require at least six per cent of the vote to earn seats under the country's proportional representation system. The Slovak Communist Party (KSS), the Movement for Democracy (HZD), the Free Forum (SF) and the New Civic Alliance (ANO) fall below this threshold.

Fico and cabinet celebrate May Day in Liptovský Mikuláš
The ruling Smer party and the town of Liptovský Mikuláš organised town-wide celebrations on May 1 to mark the third anniversary of Slovakia's entry to the EU.

Almost 600 people met in front of the former Black Eagle pub, which has been the venue for local May 1 celebrations since 1890. Prime Minister Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinák were also there. 

Mayor Ján Blchác of Liptovský Mikuláš said in a speech that on May 1, 1890, 200 people came to ask for their working hours to be shortened. They requested a full day's rest on Sundays and in the mornings of public holidays.

Fico said in his speech that May Day celebrations are a good opportunity to draw the public's attention to the importance of adopting the amended Labour Code.

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There is a bizarre clash between what the Slovak premier and his foreign minister are saying about the big furore of the US missile defence shield.

Washington proposed in January installing parts of its missile defence shield in central Europe, including 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic. 

Russia is sharply opposed to the stationing of new U.S. bases in Europe and warned that it would take efficient measures against this security threat. 

Fico supports Putin's opposition to US missile shield
Prime Minister Robert Fico announced his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin's opposition to the US' plan to build an anti-missile base in the Czech Republic and Poland on April 27.

Fico said that during his official visit to Moscow on May 3-4, he would tell Putin in person that he would never permit the construction of a US radar base in Slovakia.

Fico also said he understands Russia's fears, he told reporters. He said in Berlin in late April that Slovakia would welcome a more intensive discussion with Russia about this topic. 

On the other hand, Slovak diplomats see the construction of an anti-missile base in Central Europe as a contribution to security across the whole region, said Foreign Minister Ján Kubiš.

Slovak foreign minister defends building U.S. bases in Europe
Slovak Foreign Minister Kubis defended on May 2nd that the building of U.S. missile defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland as a step to strengthen security in the region. 

Kubis said that Slovakia supports a discussion on the project to be held within NATO, according to the report from Bratislava, Slovakia. "We believe that this step will strengthen security but we are at the same time convinced that these matters must be discussed in NATO," Kubis said, reiterating the Slovak stance on the U.S. base. 

Kubis said he would probably discuss this topic with Igor Ivanov, secretary of the Russian Security Council, during Prime Minister Robert Fico's visit to Moscow. 

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AUTOMOBILES

Kia Motors to up production in Slovakia two-fold


The South Korean automaker, Kia Motors, plans to double its annual engine production to 600,000 in Slovakia by 2012, reports said on April 24th, cited by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
The company plans to spend 110 million Euro to build another plant with a yearly capacity of 300,000 engines in the Slovak town of Teplicka nad Vahom in order to supply a Hyundai plant in the Czech town of Nosovice. 
Construction was scheduled to start on April 25th at the Nosovice plant site. "We plan to expand investment in engine production in Slovakia in relation to the construction of the Hyundai plant in the Czech Republic," the CTK news agency quoted Kia Motors Slovakia spokesman Dusan Dvorak as saying. Kia began making cars at its Slovak plant in December and plans to produce out 300,000 vehicles annually in 2009. 

Peugeot to invest 100m Euro to launch new model

Peugeot said it plans to invest 100 million Euro to launch a new model to be made at its Trnava plant in Slovakia by 2010, Budapest Business Journal reported on April 17th.
The new car will share a platform with the Peugeot-branded 207 small car, which is already made at Trnava, 50 kilometres from the capital Bratislava, the plant's manager Alain Baldeyrou was cited as saying. 
Sources at the factory said that the new car is expected to be labelled as a Citroen. Baldeyrou said that the factory will close for four weeks in August to allow modifications to the assembly line and that the new model will only be made in Slovakia.
The plant, where Peugeot made over 51,000 207 models last year and where it expects output to rise to 180,000 this year, has annual production capacity of 300,000 units. The group has already invested 700 million Euro in the site, it was reported.

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BONDS

1bn Euro sold in state bonds payable in 2017

Slovakia recently sold state bonds payable in 2017 amounting to one billion Euro on the European bond market, TASR reported. 
In doing so, the finance ministry said that it has reduced the state debt and the risks linked to it, gained new investors and facilitated Euro adoption in Slovakia, which is due to take place in 2009, it was reported. Taking into account usual indicators such as hedging, distribution and demand, this represents Slovakia's most successful bond issue abroad, the ministry said. "The bonds were sold with no extra hedging considering the regular market interest rate. With the exception of Slovenia, Slovakia is the first country from Central and Eastern Europe that has managed to do this," Finance Minister Jan Pociatek was quoted as saying. "We will now be able to obtain loans under considerably improved conditions, thanks especially to the excellent state of the Slovak economy and our well-managed public finances."

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ENERGY

Slovak economy ministry to support use of renewable energy

Slovak Economy Minister, Lubomir Jahnatek, will financially support the use of solar energy and biomass for power, giving 100 million Slovak crowns annually to increase the production of energy from renewable sources, Slovak Spectator reported on April 26th.
On April 25th, the cabinet approved a strategy to increase the use of renewable energy sources in the country. Jahnatek was cited by the news source as saying that the support would be one of the ministry's budget priorities next year.

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FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Delta Group invests US$20m in new factory 

Delta Group has officially opened a new power supply factory in Slovakia, which is due to become the centre of the company's Eastern European operations, Digitimes reported on May 7th. 
Delta invested over US$20 million in the new manufacturing plant and facilities, which will require 800 employees in its first phase of operation, Delta said. The investment was supported by the Slovak government, which granted tax incentives in the range of US$ seven million, the company added. Construction of the new factory began in July 2006 and its first production line commenced operations in February 2007. Delta decided to establish a manufacturing plant in Slovakia to better serve its European customers, according to the company.
The Slovakia plant is equipped with modern technology for the production of power supply products (rectifiers, inverters, and controllers) as well as complete power systems, Delta was cited by the news source as saying. These products empower telecommunication, information technology, industrial automation and medical, as well as solar power applications with solutions tailored to the needs of customers, the company said.
Delta plans to enhance the production scope to include further Delta products such as automotive products, fuel cell inverters and components currently only produced in Asia. The central location of Slovakia and its strong automotive industry will also provide attractive new opportunities for Delta, the company said.

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TOURISM

SACR launches new tourism information website

The Slovak Agency for Tourism (SACR) representatives announced at a press conference in Bratislava that the agency has recently launched a new national tourism information website, Slovak Spectator reported. 
The website is now available in Slovak, English and German, and work is underway to provide the information in Polish and Hungarian as well, it was reported. The website will provide maps of all Slovak cities, information on tourist attractions and more.

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