Slovakia is to give almost 1 billion dollar loan to Greece only after strict conditions are met

Of course the following reflects the election cycle in Bratislava...

Slovakia will wait until Greece adopts savings measures to cut the budget deficit before disbursing its share of the emergency loan aimed at saving the Balkan country from default, Prime Minister Robert Fico said.
“We want to see Greece doing its homework first, we want to see laws being approved by parliament,” Fico said at a press conference in the Slovak capital Bratislava. “Personally, I don’t trust Greeks.”
Finance ministers from the 16-member euro region approved an 80 billion-euro ($105 billion) aid package for Greece, with another 30 billion euros pledged by the International Monetary Fund. The share of Slovakia, which adopted the euro in 2009, would amount to about 800 million euros spread over three years, according to the country’s Finance Ministry.
Greece yesterday pledged to push through 30 billion euros of budget cuts, equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, in return for loans at a rate of about 5 percent.
Slovak lawmakers will need to amend existing legislation to allow for the loan, Fico said. A special session to do so will probably be held by a new assembly after the June 12 general election, he added.
SDKU, the largest opposition party, is against the Slovak participation in the loan and will seek a special parliamentary session before the election to discuss the issue, Iveta Radicova, the party’s election leader, said today according to the Sme newspaper.

Slovak PM says will not hike taxes after election

as reported by Rueters:

* Prime Minister Robert Fico sees no higher taxes
* Personal, corporate income tax steady at 19 percent
* In response to world crisis May hike top-end health, social security contributions by a small amount.

Slovakia will not hike taxes if the leftist SMER party forms the next government after a June general election, Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Friday, adding such a step would hurt the business environment.

The euro zone member state introduced a flat 19 percent tax rate in 2004 to overhaul its complex tax system, and the tax reform has helped bring higher budget revenues in recent years.

"We do not plan to increase taxes, none of us wants to hike taxes for corporates," Fico told a meeting of the Employers' Association (RUZ). He added the personal income tax will remain untouched as well.

Thanks to wide-ranging market reforms, Slovakia became a magnet for foreign direct investment worth billions of euros, mainly into the car and electronics sectors, which helped to boost the economy to among the European Union's fastest-growing before the economic crisis crushed foreign demand.

Fico, a tireless campaigner with a strong chance to form the next cabinet with one of its current coalition partners or with one of the opposition factions, dismissed employers' call to cut health and social security taxes.

"We will not lower health and social security contributions, there's no economic room for this," Fico said.

Fico said he was considering higher health and social security contributions for higher-income earners, as a measure which would help to boost budget revenues and back the planned fiscal consolidation.

Slovakia, using the euro zone currency since January 2009, has pledged to axe its fiscal deficit to the EU's official limit of 3 percent of gross domestic (GDP) by 2012, down from 6.8 percent in 2009.

The government aims to cut the gap to 5.5 percent of GDP this year.

Here are some pictures from the recent opening of a new square in Bratislava and sizeable new park and recreation area by the danube.

Slovak national anthem goes showbiz

This is funny in a time of heightened nationalism all over the world... :)

Slovak national anthem used as fanfar at Seoul Drama Awards 2009 - The organisers of a televised awards show in South Korea have apologised to Slovakia for mistakingly using the Slovak national anthem as background music on the show, which took place in Seoul in September of last year.

Slovak Ambassador in Seoul Dusan Bella has received a letter from the organisers in which they apologised for the 'inappropriate' use of the Slovak national anthem, adding that this happened by mistake, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Peter Stano.

"We apologise for this from the bottom of our hearts, and we assure you that there was no intent whatsoever," reads the letter. "Thank you for telling us about this terrible mistake. We promise that no such thing will ever happen again."

According to Stano, the ministry has accepted the explanation, recognising from the very beginning that the Koreans had no bad intentions in unwittingly using the anthem. He added that the organisers of the awards ceremony obviously picked it for a serious event due to its pleasing melody.