Slovakia. According to Countryaah.com, Slovakia population in 2020 is estimated at 5,459,653. Prime Minister Robert Fico decided to stand in this year’s presidential election and first looked like a winner in public opinion. But he faced criticism from the government for high unemployment – 13.5% in February – and a series of corruption scandals. Fico’s Social Democratic Party Smer, which has its own majority in Parliament, was also accused of being powerless.
The challenger in the election was the partyless Andrej Kiska, a wealthy entrepreneur who made himself known as a philanthropist. Fico won the first round of elections in March, but lost in a decisive round as Kiska gained close to 60% of the vote against Fico’s just over 40%.
Despite the defeat, Fico remained as prime minister, but falling opinion figures led to government reshuffling. Fico also presented a package of measures of € 250 million to meet the needs of poor Slovakians after years of budgetary tightening. Increased minimum wages and pensions as well as lower gas prices and lower taxes for low incomes were promised.
The election to the European Parliament became a new bottom record for voting in Slovakia. Only 13% of voters participated. Fico’s party Smer became the largest with a quarter of the vote and four of Slovakia’s 13 seats. According to Abbreviation Finder, SK stands for Slovakia in English. Click to see other meanings of this 2-letter acronym.
Slovakia was affected by the crisis in eastern neighbor Ukraine, and the government sought to curb EU sanctions on Moscow. According to Fico, trade relations and imports of Russian gas must take precedence over the Kremlin, which has drawn criticism from EU colleagues. Much of Slovakia’s important car export goes to the Russian Federation.
About 40% of the gas that the EU imports from the Russian Federation is transported through Ukraine and Slovakia. In September, Slovakia opened a pipeline for the supply of natural gas from the EU back to Ukraine, after Moscow stopped gas supplies there. Later, the Russian gas flow to Slovakia suddenly declined without explanation.
According to topb2bwebsites, Slovakia is dependent on Russian spare parts for the Air Force’s MIG plan and during the year held talks with Sweden about Swedish JAS Gripen. In August, Slovakia, Sweden and the Czech Republic wrote a letter of intent on cooperation. Slovakia and the Czech Republic will cooperate in monitoring the common airspace, and since the Czech Republic uses Gripen, Slovakia will enter into negotiations with Sweden on possible purchase or lease of the same type of plan.
Slovakia opposed the European Commission’s proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 (from 1990 levels). The argument was lost competitiveness against the rest of the world. Slovakia’s largest private employer is an American-owned coal-fired steel plant in Košice with about 11,000 employees.
Parliament decided in June on an addition to the Constitution, where marriage was defined as a covenant between men and women in order to prevent legislative changes that open to same-sex marriage. However, the issue must be submitted to a referendum in 2015.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
Internal state of central Europe. According to the 2001 census, the population of the Republic was 5,379,455 residents, while estimates referring to the following years show a substantially stagnant demographic situation. From an ethnic point of view, the clearly majority group is constituted by the Slovaks (85.8 %); the rest of the population is distributed among Magyars (9.7 %), Gypsies (1.7 %), Czechs (0.8 %), Ruthenians (0.4 %), Ukrainians (0.2 %), Germans (0, 1 %), Poles (0.1 %) and others (1.2%). The condition of minorities appears to be delicate, especially the Hungarians and the Roma, which according to various European observers do not enjoy an adequate level of protection and cultural autonomy. The urban population in 2004 amounted to 55.6 % of the total. The only cities of a certain demographic and economic importance are the capital Bratislava (425,000 residents in 2005) and Košice (235,000 residents).
Thanks to the structural reforms implemented by the government, Slovakia has definitively completed the transition towards a market economy, obtaining, in May 2004, integration into the European Union, while harmonization with community standards and the attempt to attract foreign investments constitute the main objective of the most recent political and economic guidelines. Consistent with these objectives, important steps have been taken to reform the tax, pension and health systems. Between the end of the 20th century. and the beginning of the next, the country experienced the most intense economic growth in the area (+ 4.1 % in the period 1995-2004, + 6 % in 2005-06), a result mainly due to the increase in domestic demand (consumption, investments, imports). Agriculture, which accounts for 3.6 % of GDP and employs 5.1 % of the workforce (2004), has a low productivity (about 30% compared to that of the countries of the European Union) due to the delay in the structural transformations of the sector. Exports, although positive, recorded a less dynamic trend attributable to a cyclical phenomenon such as the restructuring of the production lines underway at Volkswagen, the main driver of local exports. Strongly rural country until the end of the Second World War and subsequently, under the communist regime, characterized by a strong acceleration in industrial development, especially heavy, the Slovakia is aiming towards greater diversification and consequent production balance, based on a reduction in weight industry in favor of services. Inflationary dynamics have slowed down over the last few years (2.8 % in 2005), while the employment situation remains critical with a high unemployment rate (about 16.2 % in 2005). The latter phenomenon, which is mainly caused by economic and productive restructuring (most of the unemployed are of high age, a symptom of lack of requalification and reintegration into the world of work), presents characteristics of strong social and territorial imbalance: unemployment appears, in fact, much higher (over 30%) in the eastern regions and among the Roma minority, mainly concentrated in this area. The Slovak commercial exchange has the Community market as its privileged theater. The main partner is Germany, followed by the Czech Republic. Russia plays an important role, especially as a supplier of energy (gas and oil); trade exchanges with Italy are also significant.