Following the division of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia implemented some changes in the social care system. Health care would remain the state’s concern, while privatization was intended to be implemented in certain sectors, such as pharmacies and health resorts. Check to see Slovakia population. Life, medical and pension insurance funds were merged into a state insurance company, whose final design is not yet finalized. In the country there are 2.8 doctors and 7.1 hospital beds per thousand residents. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of SVK and acronym for Slovakia.
Ivan Gasparovic was elected president with 59.9% in the second round of the presidential election in April 2004. Opposition candidate Vladimír Meciar got 40.1%. Gasparovic was posted to the post in June of that year. In March, the country joined as a full member of NATO.
In May 2005, Parliament adopted by a large majority (116 votes against 27, 4 abstained) the EU Constitution. However, the decision did not have any effect as the constitution was voted down by referendums in France and the Netherlands.
In November, Slovakia, together with Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, joined European currency cooperation. The Slovakian krone was thus linked to the euro. This is the first step before actually joining the Eurozone.
In April 2006, the Danube River crossed its banks, causing serious damage to the central part of the country. Over 8600 hectares of land was flooded and damages totaled just over DKK 4 million.
In October 2006, the Alliance of Socialists in the European Parliament made a historic decision as they excluded their Slovak sister party from the Alliance. The reason for the exclusion was that the socialists had formed a government coalition with the ultra-right-wing Slovak National Party, led by Jan Slota. Slota is strongly anti-Hungarian and is responsible for the increase in the number of attacks on the Hungarian minority in Slovakia.
President Gasparovic and Slovak Ambassador to Washington, Rastislav Kaser, met in August 2007 to plan the President’s participation in the UN General Assembly in September. Gasparovic subsequently met with Slovak immigrants in the United States.
In March / April 2009, Gasparovic regained the presidential post. In the second round, he gained 55.5% and thus won over Christian Democrat Iveta Radičová.
In July 2009, Parliament passed a new language law imposing fines for those who use minority languages in public buildings. Hungary condemns the new law, which it says discriminates against the country’s Hungarian minority.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
The population (5,377,000 residents in 1998, out of 49,035 km2) is overwhelmingly Slovak (which became the official language of the country in 1995), but there is also a substantial Hungarian minority (567,000 people in 1996) protected by law and guaranteed, albeit amid recurring problems, from a friendship treaty between Slovakia and Hungary (1996). The dominant religion is Catholic, even of the Eastern Rite, with Protestant minority groups. The capital, Bratislava, close to the Czech border and even more to the Hungarian and Austrian ones, is close to half a million residents; just over half are the residents of Koèice, the second largest Slovak city.
After the detachment from the Czech Republic, a not short period of crisis had opened due essentially to two reasons: the end of the subsidies that Czechoslovakia granted to its less developed region and the loss of importance of Slovak heavy industries, strictly dependent on relations with the USSR and the other COMECON countries. In the mid-1990s, this crisis was largely overcome and the economy moved towards forms of recovery. The private sector is now largely in the majority and is consolidating, even if it does not benefit from the recurring internal political tensions and the unemployment rate, which remains significantly higher than in the Czech Republic. In 1996, however, Slovakia recorded the rate growth rate (6.9%) higher and the lowest inflation rate (5, 4%) among those of the post-communist countries of Central Europe. Woods continue to be the main destination of Slovak soil and provide good quantities of timber. On that third of the territory that is cultivated (reprivatized as early as 1991), considerable quantities of cereals (wheat, barley and corn), sugar beets and potatoes are produced. A decent cattle and pig farming complete the picture of the Slovak rural economy which is technically not very advanced and contributes about 5% to the formation of the GDP. A certain amount of lignite and some metallic minerals are extracted from the subsoil. The production of energy is due to thermal power plants and a dam on the Danube, but above all to the nuclear power plants of Bohunice and Mochovce (the latter contested by neighboring Austria which considers it unsafe). Despite the modest size of the country and the limited degree of industrialization (with difficult conversion problems, as in the case of the arms factories that were conceived as a function of the Warsaw Pact), Slovakia has its own non-negligible steel industry, as well as that the usual range of basic and manufacturing industries, whose products, although sometimes obsolete, range from cement to beer and televisions. Slovakia’s main trading partner remains the Czech Republic, with which a customs union agreement has been signed, followed by Germany and, especially for imports of raw materials, by the Russian Federation; the exchanges with Austria are also noteworthy, favored by navigation on the Danube. Mountain tourism should have good prospects in the future, especially in the High Tatras.