Robert Fico went to Frankfurt with Ivan Sramko the excellent Central banker that has kept a steady hand on the economic decision-making in Slovakia since his appointment by Dzurinda.
They met the European Central Bank chief Jean-Cluade Trichet in Frankfurt, and seem to have convinced the rest of europe that Slovakia has every intention but also a rising economy that can support the undertakings necessary to enter the eurozone.
It seems that given a steady 12 months of current policy will see Slovakia through to both Schengen and Euro membership, before all the other EU entrants bar tiny Slovenia.
Bratislava I can tell you is buzzing with investment, and many people are realising what a comfortable and cozy place its center is. A little known fact though is what lovely place it is to live in. Very affordable, and yet it still has all the amenities a larger capital like Vienna has.
Its political and economic leadership has serious communication issues, that is for sure. But the management of the economy has been prudent, and rotation of power beneficial for the maturity of this country's political life.
The fact that Slovak wages and living standards are rising by 8% per annum with productivity rising even faster than that (i.e. the growth is benefiting everyone in the country) and comparing it to the USA where the robber barons have returned via lobbying under the guise of de-regulation and aredriving living standars for much of the middle class down, makes me feel lucky and priviledged in my decision to base myself in this lovely corner of central europe.
In the US the poor really feel the pain of this lack of re-distribution. Repeal of common sense regulation coupled with a society that worships entertainers and doesn't bother to vote or value productive enterprises (why is Wall St. worshipped more than manufacturing?) has created a fine mess that is only just starting to unfold.
Europe is the place to be, particularly new europe.