Slovakia

 

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the close of World War I allowed the Slovaks to join the closely related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia. Following the chaos of World War II, Czechoslovakia became a Communist nation within Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe. Soviet influence collapsed in 1989 and Czechoslovakia once more became free. The Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully on 1 January 1993. Slovakia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.

 

Geography:
Location: Central Europe, south of Poland
Geographic coordinates: 48 40 N, 19 30 E
People:
Population: 5,483,088 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.6% (male 437,755/female 417,797)

15-64 years: 71.6% (male 1,955,031/female 1,965,554)

65 years and over: 12.8% (male 262,363/female 438,538) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Slovak Republic

conventional short form: Slovakia

local long form: Slovenska Republika

local short form: Slovensko

Government type: parliamentary democracy
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 1.099 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 5.925 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 37 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 19

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 9 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic (Ozbrojene Sily Slovenskej Republiky): Land Forces (Pozemne Sily), Air Forces (Vzdusne Sily) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women are eligible to serve (2010)

Economy:

Slovakia has mastered much of the difficult transition from a centrally planned economy to a modern market economy. The DZURINDA government made excellent progress during 2001-04 in macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform. Major privatizations are nearly complete, the banking sector is almost completely in foreign hands, and the government has helped facilitate a foreign investment boom with business friendly policies such as labour market liberalization and a 19% flat tax. Foreign investment in the automotive sector has been strong. Slovakia’s economic growth exceeded expectations in 2001-07 despite the general European slowdown.

 

Unemployment, at an unacceptable 18% in 2003-04, dropped to 8.6% in 2007 but remains the economy’s Achilles heel. Slovakia joined the EU on 1 May 2004 and will be the second of the new EU member states to adopt the euro in 2009 if it continues to meet euro adoption criteria in 2008. Despite its 2006 pre-election promises to loosen fiscal policy and reverse the previous DZURINDA government’s pro-market reforms, FICO’s cabinet has thus far been careful to keep a lid on spending in order to meet euro adoption criteria. The FICO government is pursuing a state-interventionist economic policy, however, and has pushed to regulate energy and food prices.

Transnational Issues:

Bilateral government, legal, technical and economic working group negotiations continued in 2006 between Slovakia and Hungary over Hungary’s completion of its portion of the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros hydroelectric dam project along the Danube; as a member state that forms part of the EU’s external border, Slovakia has implemented the strict Schengen border rules