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Slovakia

Slovakia is a democratic Parliamentary republic, founded on 1 January 1993, following the peaceable dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The country is located in the heart of Central Europe and is bordered by Austria , the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine.

Since the September 2000 elections, Slovakia has been governed by a centre-right coalition, headed by the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union of Prime Minister, Dzurinda (SDKU, 28 seats) and supported by three other parties. Its economic transformation over the past five years has positioned it well for European Union accession. Slovakia will join the EU and NATO in May 2004.

The Slovak Republic is an upper middle income country with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of US $ 3,950. The services sector accounts for 64% of the GDP. 32% of national revenue is derived from the metallurgic, food, chemical, paper, textiles and optics industries, and 4% from agriculture.

Over the last few years, Slovakia has managed to overcome many of the problems encountered in its efforts to modernise the economy. Most of the privatisation schemes have been completed. Banks have attracted the participation of important foreign investors, and foreign investment in general is increasing. Economic growth in Slovakia in 2001-2002 exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts, despite the general slowdown.

The Slovak Republic is one of the fastest growing economies in the region, with GDP growth of 4.4 percent in 2002, despite the slowdown in the EU – the country’s main market. The economy's weak point, however, is the high unemployment rate 18 percent in 2002 or 14 percent as reported by the National Labor Office. There are sharp regional differences in unemployment, with the eastern region having a much higher incidence of poverty, as economic activity is heavily concentrated in the western part, particularly around the capital, Bratislava.

Chief of State: Rudolf Schuster
Prime Minister: Mikulas Dzurinda
Minister of Foreign Affairs: Eduard Kukan
Area: 49,035 Km2
Population: 5,379,455 (2002)
Capital: Bratislava
Language: Slovak
Currency: Slovak crown
Unemployment: 18% (2002)
GDP: 25.44B euro
Per Capita GDP: 4,730 euro
Growth Rate: 4.4% (2002)
Inflation: 8.3% (2003)
Debt/GDP: 44.1% (2001)
Deficit/GDP: -7.7% (2002)
Exchange rate 37 SKK/1 US$ (2003)
Average wage $US 2.20/hour (2003)
VAT, income tax 19% flat
Payroll taxes 47.2%
   

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