Skyeurope & Bratislava

It seems that Skyeurope's newish (2 years) British manager is failing to
restructure the airline fast enough.

Skyeurope always had expensive airline pretensions with not particularly
budget prices.

It seems that skyeurope is either going to the wall or if it will become a
tiny airline.

The last chapter in its short life seems to be what happened recently when
a private equity fund from Austria pulled out of a deal to rescue the

Wizzair, a successful big hungarian budget airline announced big expansion
plans with new routes from Bratislava as did stalwart Ryanair.

For Bratislava it might prove to be a good thing.

Robert Fico after the approaching elections

After a largely competent handling of important policy questions during his
first term, the PM of Slovakia has a struggle to move away from a
disappointing first 4 years in matters relating to Slota & Meciar.

Here is our list of recommendations:

1. Form a coalition with centrists that excludes Meciar & Slota. Fico must
consign them to the dustbin of history for the good of the country.

2. Prioritise areas of state control. The state cannot juggle everything
competently. Look at small scandinavian states like Denmark to pick
affordable policies that are sustainable with a low public debt. Socialist
experiments in Italy & Greece during the 70s & 80s show what not to do.

3. Privatise things that are not vital in transparent ways & ensure

4. Engage intellectuals & technocrats to bring more competence in govenment.

5. Don't imitate Blair or Obama, they are too right wing, but don't veer
too much to the left either.

6. The nationalistic stuff is insincere and used too often when its not
necessary. So basically do more communicate less.
We like the no-nonsense approach in some areas e.g. Gas crisis but please a
less macho public persona. More women in government.

7. Focus on where Slovakia's economy will grow from in 10-20 years... Take
advice from a wide array of sources. Remember that the Dzurinda plans for
the economy need to be updated. Cultivate a closer relationship with

Germany & Slovakia

We live in interesting times.. The performance of the Slovak economy seems
to be totally aligned with the german economy to the extent that one can
say its even more in lockstep than Austria's. This is a testament of the
great deal of integration the Slovak economy now has with Western europe.

Slovakia can't buck international trends and fix the economy on its own but
the recent surge in german performance & sentiment is making its way to us.

Mr. Fico & Pociatec should note that in small open economies, often,
actions cause more harm than good, such as the government's copycat car
scrapping bonus programme modelled on the successful German one, which had
no discernable effect on the local car industry because about 97 per cent
of production is exported.

In the end, Slovakia will revive when western Europe, and particularly
Germany, starts to grow again.

Alojz Hlina, Slota and Robert Fico

Now that the economic situation is more stable and the future looks more like a typical bad spell followed about 3.4% GDP growth next year for Slovakia (OECD forecast), we can turn our attention to improving the quality of the democratic discourse in Slovakia.

We really are starting to admire Alojz Hlina, a slovak citizen and businessman (owns the Slovak pub in obchodna) who is becoming the only serious critic of Jan Slota the leader of the nationalistic pondlife known as the Slovak Nationalist Party (SNS).

In most countries the politics of SNS would fit within the conservative fold of the political spectrum not the far right despite the occasional windbag-like comments about Hungarians etc. SNS and Slota are really just a bunch thieves disguised as a political party, they don't seem to have much in the way of a political philosophy and are just Jan Slota and his acolytes trying to prise open the public purse.

Clearly SNS is being used by Robert Fico the prime minister to stay in power long enough to form a credible centre-left political formation in Slovak politics (SMER is still a very young party). I believe that Fico miscalculated how much the SNS would cost him, but the surprising fact is that the centre-left party of slovakia SMER is itself quite clean corruption-wise which is a hopeful sign for the future of Slovak politics.

However there are limits for how long voters such as myself are prepared to tolerate Meciar and Slota milking the state with constant scandals. Dzurinda was not a bad prime minister and both Dzurinda and Fico should form the core of the new slovak politics. Fico needs to cut the crap about SDKU being evil etc. The real evil is SNS and Meciar. He needs to get rid of them as allies as now his popularity is at stake. Mr. Fico himself must be appreciating how difficult it is to keep coalition partners off the trough and how mr. Dzurinda must have felt when he was trying to keep his fractious coalition together.

Thankfully Fico may be about to start acting about Slota and Meciar. The smell of elections is in the air and mr. Fico should arrange some serious discussions with the more commendable elements of the centre right and the hungarians to form a much less kleptocratic and nationalistic coalition. He can be a better prime minister in a second term but he needs to find a way to dump his current partners.

Fico claims that it is willing to sacrifice the government coalition, which would leave the SNS collapsed as a political force. "Smer is ready for this."

How Slota will respond to this "blow" from the Prime Minister, remains open.

Fico's party yesterday was refusing to respond. "Jan Slota will say more in the coming days," said press secretary of SNS Jana Benková.

Alojz Hlina and people against primitivism in politics
Alojz Hlina has serious misgivings about SNS staying in power even under Fico's control and so do I, it is starting to affect the country's character and politics. Fico needs to follow the austrian example with Haider about 10 years ago and get rid of the far right from government.

Alojz Hlina owns a couple of bars in central Bratislava which i will start going to simply for solidarity (I don't like the taste of alcohol so i ll order a tea i think)
Hlina should be the model for Fico's rheteric about his ally Jan Slota.

Activist posts banner against SNS’s Slota on Bratislava Castle
14 Aug 2009 Flash News

Activist and businessman Alojz Hlina was detained on August 13 when construction workers repairing the Bratislava Castle called police that Hlina had crept up the castle scaffolding where he and another activist fastened a banner several metres tall criticising the head of the Slovak National Party, the Sme website reported.

“We believe that after the repair and cleaning, there will be no more Slota and his likes,” the banner read. Workers noticed the unusual bustle only after about 15 minutes and two of them went to negotiate. After several minutes, the banner was peacefully taken down.

This protest is the most recent in a continuing a series of public actions Hlina has staged against what he calls “primitivism in politics”. He asked for a meeting with a representative of the Slovak parliament to whom he intended to hand over a letter with three questions.

The letter asked whether Slovak laws were valid for all, including for Ján Slota, and whether the parliament had a sociological study that would prove that if someone broke the law without consequences, some groups start to take justice in their own hands. However, Hlina failed to hand over the letter because the Slovak parliament’s representative did not show up. Both activists were detained and interrogated.

SME newspaper

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