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Lucky Spin
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Slovakia's economy enjoys EU boom
Mar 03, 2006

Slovakia has been attracting investment from big business, day trippers, and stag night revellers since joining the EU last year.
The cobbled streets and fountain-lined squares of Bratislava's old town have always charmed the tourists.
But now Slovakia's capital is gleaming with foreign investment. It has become the eastern European darling of the multinationals - and foreign investment is expected to total about £1.5bn (2.2bn euros) this year, twice the amount attracted in 2004.
According to the World Bank, Slovakia had the fastest transforming business environment in the world last year, and already comparisons are being drawn with Ireland's economic transformation in the 1990s.
Low labour costs, low taxes and political stability make this one of the most attractive economies in Europe.

Flexibility

Last year, the government replaced its income, corporate and sales tax with a 19% flat tax rate which is now eyed enviously by some Western countries like Austria and Germany.

"Investors are not very sophisticated, they are attracted by positive examples," says Eugen Jurzyca, from the Centre for Economic Development.

"They see that Slovakia is well placed geographically. But I think it's the government's reform of the labour code as well that makes this an attractive place to be. It's much more flexible than western Europe, hiring and firing is easier, and it's easier to work longer hours."

The biggest investments in Slovakia have been in car plants. Fifty km outside Bratislava, a vast car manufacturing plant for Peugeot-Citroen has sprung up in less than a year.

Huge flat-roofed white buildings now cover an area that used to be grassy countryside. The diggers are still hard at work, but soon Peugeot-Citroen, Kia Motors, Ford Motor and Hyundai will be manufacturing cars alongside Volkswagen.

In less than two years, Slovakia is expected to produce more cars per head than any other country in the world - and it's not just car manufacturers who are coming to the country.

"Professionally, I came here about a year ago - I'd never even heard of Slovakia before," says American property developer Eric Assimakopoulos.

Future investment

His office is decorated with photographs of the rich and famous who have stayed in the upmarket hotel he bought in the city centre.

"George Bush stayed here, and his father too," he laughs. "The White House took over the whole lot.

"We did an analysis of Slovakia and the fundamentals of this market were much better than others. Firstly, it's quite small and its location near Austria is perfect. I'm thinking ahead of the EU game - maybe Romania and Hungary, even the Ukraine would be good for investments next."

But there is little of this kind of investment outside the capital. The east of Slovakia is still frustrated by poor infrastructure and unemployment reaching 20%. Even in Bratislava, there is limited enthusiasm for the nation's new economic stardom.

"Not much has changed for me," says Petra, 20. "I guess it's easier to travel and get credit cards, but that's about it. Oh yes... we have some nice EU flags on our buildings now!"

"I think the real change will be when we join the Euro," says Nadia, 25, a banker.

"Until then we won't be considered as equal to other EU countries in the West."

Contributions

Western European visitors to Bratislava seem more impressed. There are Austrians getting hair cuts in salons here, making a quick day's shopping trip over the border.

"We have lots of clients on our books now," says Annette, the manager of a new salon. "It's a bit cheaper here for them."

And it seems that Bratislava is now on the map for the British stag night.

"This is much better than Prague," says Tony Jeffreys, from Suffolk. "We hadn't really thought of it before, but it's now easy to get here, and it's part of the EU, isn't it?"

Slovakia, along with the other new EU members, contributes just 4% towards the EU's economy. Experts predict that this will grow as more investors start looking eastwards.

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GDP growth 5.1% in first half of 2005
The Slovak Spectator
September 9th 2005

THE SLOVAK economy grew by 5.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2005, with a gross domestic product of Sk357.6 billion (€9.3bn), the TASR news agency wrote, based on information released on September 9, 2005 by Slovakia’s Statistics Office (ŠÚ).

The GDP for the first half of 2005 stood at Sk690.2 billion (€17.9 billion), and was also up by 5.1 percent year-on-year.

Positive results were also reported in areas such as unemployment and wages.

According to the ŠÚ, unemployment decreased by 2 percent year-on-year to 16.9 percent in the first half of 2005. The employment rate increased 2.2 percent to 2.187 million people.

Nominal monthly wages increased by 8.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2005 to reach Sk16,737 (€435), while real salaries were up 5.6 percent.

In the first half of 2005, monthly nominal salaries in Slovakia rose by an average of 9.1 percent to Sk16,381. Real salaries were up 6.2 percent year-on-year.




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slovak girls
Jul 12, 2007

Bratislava

A story about slovakian girls
On my first night in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, while I was waiting for the first Monica, who was going to pick me up in front of my hotel at 9 o'clock, two young Italians stopped to ask me if I could suggest a place where they could have some fun that night in Slovakia.
Before I had the chance to hide behind my usual "I don't speak Italian" (spoken in English, of course), they went on to say, "You can't get any slovak girls here. We arrived yesterday and we're leaving tomorrow. The taxi driver refused to help us find some girls and the female receptionist at the hotel wanted to throw us out when we asked her where we could get some women. The Slovak Republic where taxi drivers and receptionists can't understand the tourist is underdeveloped. We're going back to Thailand!"
Marco and Sandro come from the small Italian... more

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Success Stories
Girls in Bratislava

by Steve

True to God's blueprint for Eastern Europe, the girls in Bratislava have to be seen to be believed. They dress to turn heads, and probably would even if they wore shiny tracksuits salvaged from the eighties. Fortunately, short skirts, tight trousers and skimpy tops are more the order of the day.

The Slovakian capital, with its relaxed vibe, narrow streets and pavement bars, is made for drinking, drooling, and generally watching the world go by. Go somewhere else for serious conversation, which will be frequently derailed by passing lovelies causing eyes and minds to wander.

By night, Slovakian girls are not only heartbreakingly beautiful, they also love to party, and often prowl the bars and clubs of Bratislava in large groups. They love to practice their English, to chat and to be chatted up, but you will have to play your cards carefully to get anything more than an innocent peck on the cheek. You wouldn't be the first to mistake the innocent charm of Slovakian girls for something more.

After a weekend in Bratislava, you will believe in love at first sight.

...
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