Slovakia. At the beginning of the year, the South Korean
giant Hyundai decided to build a new car factory in Slovakia
at a cost of just over SEK 6 billion. According to
CountryAAH, the total population in Slovakia is 5,459,653 people in 2020.
The factory, which is
expected to be completed in 2006, will produce around
200,000 vehicles a year. Thus, Slovakia had definitely
shaken off its mark as Central Europe's least interesting
investment country and established itself as Europe's most
attractive country for the multinational car industry. This
had happened not only because of low wages and low costs,
but also with the help of an investment-friendly policy.
According to a report from the World Bank, Slovakia was one
of the two countries in the world that improved its business
climate the most in the previous year.
The country's controversial former prime minister
Vladimír Mečiar won the first round of the presidential
election in April. In second place came his former political
ally Ivan Gašparović. The result was surprising, as most
observers had expected Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan to
prevail. Possibly the surprise became even bigger when Ivan
Gašparović won the decisive round over Mečiar with close to
60% of the vote and was named the country's new president,
just before Slovakia joined the EU on 1 May. Just over a
month earlier, Slovakia had been included as a member of the
NATO Defense Alliance.
In March 2010, President Gasparovic vetoes a new
Patriotism Act, due to come into force on April 1.
Otherwise, the law required that schools display the Slovak
national symbols in each classroom and that the country's
national tune should be played in all schools every Monday
In May, Slovakia protests against Hungary's decision to
allow ethnic Hungarians living abroad to apply for Hungarian
citizenship. Slovakia strikes again by declaring that
Slovakians applying for dual citizenship automatically will
lose their Slovak citizenship.
The June 2010 parliamentary elections were won by the
ruling Social Democracy, which ran for 12 seats and gained
34.8% of the vote. But the Social Democracy's 2 coalition
partners got a poor election result. The ultra-nationalist
Slovak National Party withdrew 11 seats and came just above
the threshold. The second, HZDS was completely out of
Parliament. The second largest party, the Christian
Democrats who got 15.4% of the vote, therefore formed
government with 3 other less right-wing parties and Iveta
Radičová became new prime minister. The country's first
female prime minister. However, the coalition collapses in
October 2011 when one of the parties refuses to ratify
Slovakia's participation in the EU financial rescue fund.
After several years of high growth, the country was hit
hard by the global economic crisis, which seriously hit in
2008. GDP fell by 4.9% during the year, while unemployment
rose from 10.6% in March 2009 to 14, 1% in March 2010.
Meanwhile, youth unemployment had risen to 33.3%. Well above
the EU average. The country's introduction of € as currency
in January 2009 had neither made nor on this crisis
development. The new government that came to power in July
2010 stated that it wanted to implement traditional
bourgeois cutbacks: reducing government spending to reduce
the budget deficit but avoiding tax increases.