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Lucky Spin
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Once a Backwater, Slovakia Surges
Mar 01, 2006

Legions of investors are, analysts say, turning Slovakia into one of the fastest-growing economies in Central Europe. An economic backwater in the late 1990’s, Slovakia has lately been dubbed the Tatra Tiger -- Tatra from the mountain range here and tiger after the Irish Tiger, the term used to describe Ireland’s economic transformation in the 1990’s. There are many similarities: both Ireland and Slovakia are small (Ireland’s population is 4 million, Slovakia’s 5.5 million). Both were traditionally reliant on agriculture, and even their quintessential foods, cabbage and potatoes, are the same. Both joined the E.U. (Slovakia last spring) with relatively underdeveloped economies. As Ireland did in the 1990’s, Slovakia’s government has lowered taxes and wooed investors. As a result, foreign investment is now pouring in.

Direct foreign investment this year, at $1.1 billion in the last nine months, is already three times as great as in 2003. Economic growth is up 5.3%, to $33.3 billion in the last three quarters, outpacing growth in Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic, and neck-and-neck with Poland. The biggest investments have been in automobile plants. Investors say Slovakia’s political stability, low labor costs and low taxes make it one of the most attractive economies in Europe. Slovakia replaced its income taxes, corporate taxes and sales taxes with a 19% flat tax this year. It also canceled its tax on dividends and simplified its labor laws, in part to make it easier to hire and fire workers.

Slovakia’s recent economic success is especially significant given its reputation in the mid-1990’s, when Madeleine K. Albright, the U.S. secretary of state, called it a black hole in the middle of Europe. In that era, soon after Communism fell, the authoritarian prime minister, Vladimir Meciar, turned his back on the E.U. and NATO. At the same time, multimillion-dollar state companies were privatized for pennies. Not surprisingly, investors stayed away, the economy stagnated and unemployment soared to nearly 20%. In 2002, Mr. Meciar’s successor, Mikulas Dzurinda, was elected to a second term, this time with a coalition of parties that are, like him, right-leaning, paving the way for pro-business changes.

Besides cutting taxes, the Dzurinda government brought the free market to health care and partly privatized the social security system. The average time it takes to set up a company has fallen from 90 to 50 days. Its labor costs, government officials said, are one-eighth those of Western Europe, with wages averaging $520 a month. By 2006, Slovakia is expected to leapfrog its neighbors, Poland and Hungary, in foreign direct investment per capita. Still, it is unclear whether the government has the support of its poor and middle class. About 21% of Slovaks live in poverty, an unemployment, though falling, remains above 17% and is even higher in the country’s underdeveloped east. At the moment, the country’s most popular politician is Robert Fico, who has criticized the tax cuts for industry and the wealthy and vowed to roll back the health care changes.




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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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