Following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire, in 1918 the Slovaks joined
the closely related Czechs to form
Czechoslovakia. After World War
II, Czechoslovakia became a Communist
nation within Soviet-ruled Eastern
Europe. Soviet influence collapsed
in 1989 and Czechoslovakia once
more became free. The Slovaks and
the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully
on 1 January 1993. Slovakia joined
both NATO and the EU in the spring
of 2004 and has been able to attract
significant Foreign Direct Investments.
130 - (25/08/10)
Slovakia is beset, like so much of
Eurasia, by natural disasters.
Radicova to the rescue
Prime Minister Iveta Radičová
interrupted her holiday in Croatia and
went straight back to Slovakia due to
the floods that have hit the Upper Nitra
area especially hard, Radičová's
spokesman Rado Baťo told the TASR
newswire on August 16.
It was announced that Radičová had set
aside €300,000 from the premier's
reserve as relief for areas in Upper
Nitra hit by the floods at the weekend.
At the same time, the prime minister
expressed her sorrow over the loss of
human life and sent her condolences to
First auction of natural gas
Slovakia's dominant gas firm SPP has
arranged the country's first auction of
natural gas at which it plans to sell
supplies for 2011 and potentially the
following two years, it said on Auguat
The successful bidder will offer the
best price per 1 MWh of gas during the
auction, which is to be held between
August 20 to September 8, SPP said.
"We are expecting interest in this form
of gas sale primarily from the side of
large industrial customers, as well as
from the side of gas traders...," SPP
Gas and Trade Division Director Dusan
Randuska said in a statement.
SPP, which operates a pipeline carrying
around 70 percent of Europe's
consumption of Russian natural gas, said
it expects both Slovak and foreign
businesses to take part in the auction
and will announce the successful bidder
on September 9th.
Slovakia opts out
Slovakia’s new government came under
fire from its eurozone partners,
particularly Germany, on August 18 after
its parliament voted overwhelmingly to
reject taking part in a European Union
aid package for the troubled Greek
The German government criticised the
Slovak parliament’s decision in
unusually harsh terms. “All member
states committed themselves politically
to assistance for Greece,” said a
spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Every member relies on solidarity;
solidarity is no one-way street.”
Two strong women head to head
Ms Merkel would address the issue when
Iveta Radicova, the Slovak prime
minister, visited the German capital on
August 25, he added.
The European Commission in Brussels also
reacted angrily to the news. “It is a
breach of the commitment undertaken by
Slovakia in the Eurogroup,” Olli Rehn,
the economics and monetary affairs
commissioner, said in the wake of the
vote. “I can only regret this breach of
solidarity within the euro area and I
expect the Eurogroup and the Ecofin
Council to return to the matter in their
A Commission spokesman added that
Slovakia had itself benefited from the
increased financial stability that
resulted from the bail-out facility it
But he stressed that the loan package to
Greece was not put at risk by Slovakia,
which was to provide just over 1 per
cent of the total needed for the €80bn
($104bn, £66bn) bail-out.
The poor do not bail out the rich
Slovakia, which is much poorer than
Greece, adopted the euro last year, and
as a member of the zone was expected to
provide more than €800m, its portion of
the rescue package that saved Greece
Slovakia has a per capita average inome
of $21,000 or thereabouts at purchasing
power parity, while Greece has a per
capita GDP of abouit $32,000. Slovakia
embarked on a bout of painful economic
reforms in 1998 that transformed it into
one of Europe’s top economic performers.
Ms Radicova, who took power after
parliamentary elections in June, had
long been opposed to bailing out Greece
and her predecessor, Robert Fico, had
been lukewarm about the scheme.
The parliament voted on August 18 by
69-2 to reject the Greek aid package.
Former Premier Mikulas Dzurinda, the
foreign minister, explained that
Greece’s troubles were the result of
“irresponsible decisions” made by member
states and commercial banks, and that
his country was still pro-European.
While rejecting the Greek package, the
Slovak parliament did back the country's
€4.4bn participation in the larger
€440bn European Financial Stability
Facility, aimed at preventing the spread
of the Greek crisis.
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