Slovakia - Economic analysis of government's policies, investment climate and political risk.






SLOVAKIA: Economic Policy Analysis

This site presents an analysis of the Slovakian government's economic policies compared to a revised list of 34 economic policies as prepared by student Katarina Halahijova with the McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis (MIEPA) in May of 2004. To read the analysis scroll through this site. To learn more about the background policies, click here Introduction and Policy Recommendations

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Katarina Halahijova, a Slovak citizen who currently [May 2004] lives in California, has completed a study of the home country government's economic policies as compared to the MIEPA list of policies as outlined above. The study on Slovakia is shown below. The ratings herein are based on the following rating scale:


5.0 Perfect Facilitation of Wealth Creation
4.0 Midway between Perfect and Neutral
3.0 Neutral Effect on Wealth Creation
2.0 Midway between Neutral and Obstructionist
1.0 Perfectly Obstructionist to Wealth Creation
[Rating scale copyright Mike P. McKeever, 1996. Used herein with permission]

To read a disclaimer about the analysis in this file, scroll to the bottom of the file.

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Comparison of Slovakia's economic policies to MIEPA criteria as prepared by native student of Slovakia, Katarina Halahijova, studying in the US in May of 2004.



        1               5.0          15.0             15.0       100%

        2               5.0          15.0             15.0       100

        3               2.0           6.0             15.0        40

        4               5.0          15.0             15.0       100

        5               4.0          12.0             15.0        80

        6               4.0          12.0             15.0        80

        7               4.0          12.0             15.0        80

        8               4.5          13.5             15.0        90

        9               4.5          13.5             15.0        90

        10              4.5          13.5             15.0        90

        11              4.5          13.5             15.0        90

        12              4.0           8.0             10.0        80

        13              5.0          10.0             10.0       100

        14              4.5           9.0             10.0        90

        15              4.0           8.0             10.0        80

        16              4.5           9.0             10.0        90

        17              2.0           4.0             10.0        40

        18              4.0           8.0             10.0        80

        19              4.5           9.0             10.0        90

        20              4.0           8.0             10.0        80

        21              4.5           9.0             10.0        90

        22              5.0          10.0             10.0       100

        23              4.0           8.0             10.0        80

        24              3.5           7.0             10.0        70

        25              3.5           7.0             10.0        70

        26              2.0           4.0             10.0        40

        27              4.0           8.0             10.0        80

        28              4.0           8.0             10.0        80

        29              3.0           3.0              5.0        60 

        30              3.5           3.5              5.0        70

        31              2.0           2.0              5.0        40

        32              2.0           2.0              5.0        40

        33              4.0           4.0              5.0        80

        34              2.0           2.0              5.0        40

   TOTAL             130.5          284.3            375.0        75.8%
                      =====        ======            =====        =====

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1. Freedom From Internal Control: 5.0

Slovak citizens are free from internal control. They can do whatever they wish if they are not involved in crime. Slovak people can move where they like, they can leave country and come back, they can chose their professions, change job. People can start business if they fulfill by law established requirements. Slovak government protect reputation of Slovakia as a free country, especially after what was going on in the past during the communism, that time Slovakia was far from free country.

Source: personal information

2 .Freedom of speech: 5.0

Slovak constitution ensure freedom of speech for everyone. This law pass in1989 after revolution and change of regime from communism to capitalism and democracy. In Slovakia you can say anything about anybody, about president , government etc. It is a law in Slovakia about not destroying somebody’s reputation by saying something what is not true. But this law is not clear and in real life not used at all. It is practically not possible to sue somebody because of destroyed reputation. There are certain rules about freedom of speech in medias, for example in advertisement you cannot use name of product of competitors to compare. Like say Tide is better than Ariel, in Slovakia they would say Tide is better that a common detergent.

Source: personal information

3. Effective, fair police force: 2.0

As most of aspects of Slovak society, police force is terrible corrupted as well. Corruption of police force is a big problem in Slovakia. I believe that majority of Slovak cops are dirty. Many of the are involved in crimes, sell drugs and of course take bribes. One example is to be pulled over while driving, in most cases cops offer you to pay half fine, if you pay cash right away and you don’t get your citation. In other words, they just keep the money without issuing a ticket. If you get arrested for minor crime and you have enough money to pay, in lot of cases they let you go. But not all Slovak policemen are dirty, there are cops in Slovakia who do a good job and help keep country safe.

Source: personal information

4. Private property: 5.0

Slovak citizens appreciate the right of private property after period of communism in Slovakia, that finished in 1989. In this and couple of next years Slovak government gave families what they took from them in 1948 and next years. Slovakia kept all the record of private property ownership, so everybody get back what was their if it was possible. In some cases property didn’t exist anymore. It is not problem to prove you own a property in Slovakia, because institutions keeps all the records of ownership.

Source: personal information

5. Commercial banks: 4.0

Slovakia is still finishing process of privatization of banking sector. Many foreign investors are coming to country, helping establish stable banking system. Three, four years ago, it was not unusual to see Slovak bank bankrupting, leaving depositors with lost money. Slovak government repaid these deposits only partially. Situation improved a lot from that time. Deposit are much safer in banks now. Banks provide businesses and individuals with loans and have to keep reserves in the National Banks of Slovakia.

Source: personal information

6. Communication system: 4.0

Telephones and still mainly home phones are the main way of communication in Slovakia. There are 1,934,558 phone lines and 736,662 cellular phones in Slovakia. However number of cellular phones is increasing every day and I believe is currently above the figure. Telephone system - general assessment: a modernization and privatization program is increasing accessibility to telephone service, reducing the waiting time for new subscribers, and generally improving service quality

- domestic: predominantly an analog system that is now receiving digital equipment and is being enlarged with fiber-optic cable, especially in the larger cities; mobile cellular capability has been added

- international: three international exchanges (one in Bratislava and two in Banska Bystrica) are available; Slovakia is participating in several international telecommunications projects that will increase the availability of external services.

Slovakia has AM 15, FM 78, and 2 shortwave radio stations.

Slovakia has 38 TV Stations, 6 internet service providers and about 700,000 internet users, the number is increasing.


7. Transportation: 4.0

Slovakia is a small country only 48,845 sq km, what is about twice of New Hampshire. On this area Slovakia has 3668 km of railways, what is sufficient enough for the country. Slovakia has 42,717 km of highways, 172 km of waterways - all on the Danube. The pipelines length is: gas 6,769 km; oil 449 km, imported from former Soviet Union. Slovakia has no sea and has only two harbors on the Danube, in Bratislava and Komarno. Slovakia has only two ships, one cargo ship and one bulk ship. Slovakia has 37 airports and 1 heliport. But airline transportation inside of Slovakia is not very developed, mostly because people prefer train, bus or car transportation, because is cheaper and Slovakia is small, so distances are not too big. Slovakia uses airlines mostly as a connection with other countries. Slovakia has good transportation system, only problems can be in winter if it falls too much snow. Snow can make transportation harder to small villages. However government always tries improve the situation as soon possible.

Source:, personal information

8. Education: 4.5

Slovakia has a great education system. There are only very few private schools in Slovakia, and all colleges and Universities are public. Public schools are in lot of cases even better than private and they are free at all levels for all Slovak citizens. Slovak children get much better education at high schools compare to US education system. Slovak Universities are internationally recognized as a good quality schools and cooperate with Universities abroad. Teachers are highly qualified in all levels of education. Only problem is that some schools don’t have good equipment, because lack of financial resources.

Source: personal information

9. Social mobility: 4.5

Slovak constitution ensure equality between people. It is illegal discriminate according to gender, ethnicity, age, social status. Because education in Slovakia is free, everybody has an equal chance to receive an education, a degree or to get a special training to get a job they desire. Slovakia gives a chance even children from poor families to get an education and make a good living. Companies mostly hire employees according to education, good skills, intelligence and knowledge of applicants. However to have “connections” can be sometimes helpful.

Source: personal information

10. Freedom from outside control: 4.5

Slovak citizens are subject to rules of the Slovak Constitutions. All Slovak citizens are judged according to Slovak laws. If our citizens is arrested in foreign country, Slovakia tries to bring them to Slovakia to be prosecuted over there. However Slovakia cooperates with international organizations like INTERPOOL to look for international criminals. If a foreign persons is arrested in Slovakia, the country usually give them back to native countries to be prosecuted.

Source: personal information

11. Currency: 4.5

Slovak Currency is Slovak Crown - Slovenska Koruna (SVK). 1 USD = 33 SVK. National Bank of Slovak Republic is a Central Bank of Slovakia and it is a only bank that has a right to issue currency. It is independent institutions that cooperates with government to plan and implement fiscal and monetary policies. Slovak Crown went through relatively high inflation after change of regime from communism to capitalism in 1989. However Slovak Crown has showed to be a stable currency recently. Slovakia is preparing for implementing EURO in Slovakia. Slovakia is planning to change to EURO in 2008 - 2009, after fullfiling Maastricht ‘s criteria.


12. Border control: 4.0

Slovakia just joined European Union in May 2004. Borders between EU countries are not guarded too much, but borders to enter EU are guarded very well. Slovakia has boarders with Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. Borders with Ukraine require special attention, because most of the immigrants come from Ukraine. In most of cases our officials catch them by the borders or they track them down and catch them later. One of important issues is that Slovakia as a gate to Western Europe is a transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin bound for Western Europe. Our police force work hard to track drug shipments, they cooperate with other European countries, to track large drug shipments in Europe to get more information about these crime organizations.

Source: , personal information

13. Foreign currency transactions: 5.0

Only currency accepted in Slovakia by retail stores, restaurants, hotels etc. is Slovak Crown - Slovenska Koruna (SKK). 1 US Dollar = about 32 Slovak Crowns. Banks and number of Currency Exchange facilities provide exchanges between Slovak Crowns and foreign currencies. You have to go to one of these places to buy Slovak Crowns, they wont sell it to you in retail stores, restaurants etc. Slovak Crown has become relatively stable currency, it has get little stronger recently. US Dollar dropped dramatically towards Slovak Crown from 52 SKK for 1 USD in 2001 to 32 SKK for 1 USD now. Slovakia is preparing for joining of European Union this year. Eventually Slovakia will accept EURO as the rest of EU.

Source: personal information

14. Cultural, language homogeneity: 4.5

Slovakia has a high homogeny in culture .The only official language in Slovakia is Slovak. Slovak belongs to the family of Slavic languages. All Slovak citizens speak Slovak language. The largest majority in Slovakia are Hungarians, therefore on south of the country, where Hungarian minority is located, Hungarian is spoken as well as an unofficial language. Ethnic groups in Slovakia include: Slovak 85.7%, Hungarian 10.6%, Roma 1.6% (the 1992 census figures underreport the Gypsy/Romany community, which is about 500,000), Czech, Moravian, Silesian 1.1%, Ruthenian and Ukrainian 0.6%, German 0.1%, Polish 0.1%, other 0.2% (1996). Religions in Slovakia include: Roman Catholic 60.3%, atheist 9.7%, Protestant 8.4%, Orthodox 4.1%, other 17.5%.


15. Political effectiveness: 4.0

Current Slovak government of the Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda is in power from May 1999. The government did a lot of good work and work on improvement of many areas of Slovak society. Slovakia became a part of NATO - the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and is preparing for entrance to EU - European Union. Slovakia as former socialist country has to go through lots of changes to built market economy. It is hard process and need a lot of work, however government made some mistakes, it is relatively good and effective government. Slovakia is located in geographic area with nearly no natural disasters, only problems are floods. Therefore government work on building sufficient and reliable docks on rivers. This is highly efficient, what was proved during last years huge floods in this geographical area. Germany, Austria and Czech Republic suffered huge damage. Slovakia had almost no damage thanks to work of government to prepare country for this situation.

Source:, personal information

16. Institutional stability: 4.5

Slovakia has high institutional stability. President is elected for 5 years period, government for 4 years. The leader of the winning party become usually the Prime Minister. Current government just started their second term, which shows stability of Slovak government. Justice, educational, health system, police force are stable. Due to recent privatization of financial institutions, banks and insurance companies, there were changes in these sector. Also business sector is not stable as it could be, but I think situation is improving.

Source:, personal information

17. Honest government: 2.0

As all levels of Slovak society, Slovak government is corrupt as well. Although many representatives seek own profit, a lot of them cares about development and prosperity of the country. Today government is in power from 1999 and it is the best government that Slovakia have had since separation from the Czech Republic in 1993. Former government of Slovakia made terrible crimes. Many of these crimes are still investigated, certain members of former government were pledged guilty. A few ran away from the country. INTERPOOL found the person behind many of crimes, Jan Lexa, the former head of the Slovak information service - information agency in Slovakia, in The Republic of south Africa. Situation in honesty of Slovak government is far from perfect, but has improving tendency.

Source: personal information

18. Common law: 4.0

Slovak constitution guarantee equal law for all Slovak citizens. However Slovakia has a serious problem with corruption in all levels of society. Government launched program called „National fight against corruption“, but you cannot see much results. Legal system and police force are terribly corrupted as well. If you have money you can do in Slovakia anything you want. Slovak court system doesn‘t have a jury, judge solely decide about guilt or innocence. In case of no corruption, judges are fair, they implement equal law for everybody. But problem is that nearly every judge is possible to corrupt. Let‘s say it, in Slovakia you can kill a person and just pay to judge and you are innocent.

Source: personal information

19. Central Bank: 4:5

National Bank of Slovakia is independent central bank of Slovak Republic. This institution is independent from Slovak government, President or Parliament. National Bank cooperates with government in planning and implementing monetary policies. It uses monetary tools like reserve requests, discount rates and open market operations. National Bank prints money responsibly, increase of value has to occur in certain sector of country, bank doesn’t print money on nobody’s orders.


20. Domestic budget management: 4:0

Slovak government prepares federal budget annually. Government always manage finances according to the budget plan for the year. The federal income in 2003 was 235 400 000 000 Skk. The expenditures in 2003 was 291 437 250 000 Skk. The deficit in 2003 was 56 037 250 000 Skk. Budget plan for year 2004 plan income 231 957 485 000 Skk., including income from taxes ( 195 238 000 000 Skk.), expenditures 310 452 485 000 Skk. That shows trhat government planned deficit budget for 2004. Deficit will be 78 495 000 000 Skk. Slovak federal budget is traditionally deficit. Deficit is about 8%-10% in most years. 1 dollar is about 32 Slovak crowns (Skk).


21. Government debt: 4.5

Gross domestic product (GDP) in 2002 was $67.34 billion. Amount of debt of The Slovak Republic in year of 2002 was $9.6 billion. That makes the debt of the Slovak Republic approximately 14.26% of GDP. The national debt of Slovakia is not too high to be a problem for economy. Also Slovakia is currently and during past few years receiving grants from European Union for development of certain problematic areas of the country as a part of preparation for joining the EU.


22. Economic statistics: 5.0

Slovak government and number of information a statistic agencies prepare monthly and annual reports about progress of all economic statistics, information collected by government and private organizations are equal. Economic statistics are regularly published in press, radio and television. These information truly reflect a real situation in Slovak economy.

Source: personal information

23. Protection of public health and safety: 4.0

All hospital in Slovakia are still public. Advantage is, that everybody a free health care, as well as dental and vision care. All employers must pay full health insurance to all employees, in case you are child, student , unemployed , disabled or generally you don’t work government pays your insurance. Medical and hospital employees, doctors, nurses are really qualified people, with lots of knowledge and experience. Problem is, that hospitals don’t have certain technology and equipment to perform some surgeries and procedures that US hospitals are able to do. Slovakia has a system of obligatory vaccination, to miss your appointment, without any notice is illegal. I have never heard about a case of tuberculosis in Slovakia, because of extensive vaccination system, regular person goes through check of TBC defense level in your blood and possible revaccination 5-10 times a life. In Slovakia death rate is 9.22 deaths/1,000 population , infant mortality rate is 8.55 deaths/1,000 live births and life expectancy is 74.43 years.

Source:, personal information

24. High wages policies: 3.5

Situation in Slovakia is not perfect, but not worst. Slovakia belong between countries with middle level of income. Problem is however, that Slovakia is preparing for entrance to European Union, both prices and salaries are much lower, that European Union standards. Therefore prices in Slovakia are going up to become same as in EU, but salaries are rising in much lower rate. In other words Slovak people are able to buy less and less. Inflation in last year was 8,4%, but inflation in sector of housing, rent, water and energy prices was 17.6% and these are the basic, necessary expenses of families. Situation is expected to get better after Slovakia become a part of EU, prices won’t rise so fast and salaries should increase to level of European standards as well.

Source:, personal information

25. Environmental protection: 3:5

Situation in monitoring, controlling and preventing of negative actions of companies and individuals on environment is getting much better in Slovakia. Government has wide net of inspections, sanctions and legislative in this matter. Slovakia cooperate with many European countries among others Norway, Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and with organizations of European Union active in environmental matters. Environment in Slovakia was damage during socialism, so government has a lot of work to repair damage to environment. Only problem I see is corruption in Slovakia, there is still a possibility to pay environmental inspectors and get away with some damages to environment. However government cleaned certain areas from pollution left by former regime and they hasn’t finished yet.

Source:, personal information

26. Strong army: 2.0

Slovakia doesn’t have model of paid army like the one of the USA. Slovakia has a system of 9 months army service. That means, that every healthy man at the age of 18, or after he finish his studies, has to serve 9 months in army to attend training. In the case of war all man are called to protect the country. There are also professional soldiers in Slovakia, but not too many. Anyway, Slovakia with the population of 5.5 mil., is not able to obtain strong army. There are plans to reorganize army to paid model, but country doesn’t have enough money for that, also army equipment is insufficient. The best way for protection are military contract Slovakia has with its neighbors, as well as it is part of NATO - the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Source: personal information

27. Foreign trade impact: 4.0

According to the following information, share of international trade on GDP is about 40%. GDP: purchasing power parity - $67.34 billion (2002 est.) Exports: $12.9 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.) Exports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 39.4%, intermediate manufactured goods 27.5%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 13%, chemicals 8% (1999) Exports - partners: Germany 30.1%, Czech Republic 16.4%, Austria 10.7%, Italy 7.2%, Poland 5.7%, Hungary 4.6% (2002)

Imports: $15.4 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.) Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 37.7%, intermediate manufactured goods 18%, fuels 13%, chemicals 11%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 9.5% (1999) Imports - partners: Germany 24.8%, Czech Republic 16%, Russia 13.5%, Austria 7%, Italy 6.4%, France 4% (2002)


28. Protection of foreign currency earning enterprises: 4:0

The Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic has a program of help for Slovak exporters. They call it “The state grant scheme of support of ability to compete“. Slovak government prepared this project by cooperation with European Union and European agreement on coal and steel. Government support export of certain products by giving grants to companies. Among others government support companies exporting electronic products, companies working on constructions abroad, marketing companies etc.


29. Management of Foreign Currency Budget: 3.0

Results for international business for year 2003 compare to year 2002:

            2003                     2002                
                              change 03 vs 02
          export               652,0 mil. Skk         
     803,0 mil. Skk                + 23,2  %
          import               748,0 mil. Skk         
     826,6 mil. Skk                + 10,5  %
          balance            - 96,0 mil. Skk          
    - 23,6 mil. Skk             + 72,4 mil. Skk

Slovak currency is Slovak crown (Skk) - 1 dollar is about 32 Slovak crowns. Traditional negative balance of international trade (exception year 1994) reached in year 2003 value - 23.6 mil. Skk, that was the best balance of international trade since 1995, the improvement from last year was 72.4 mil. Skk. This result was accomplished because of increase in international business and increase in export. External debt of Slovakia was $9.6 billion in 2002.


30. Layers of collective action: 3.5

Slovakia has a system of parliamentary democracy. It has 1 capital city Bratislava and 8 regions. Government has been working on changing legislature and layering collective actions. President was elected by direct, popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 29 May 1999 (next to be held NA May/June 2004), this was first direct election of president, before elected by parliament. Slovakia has also the National Council elections and the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president . Government put more competencies on local governments and divided country to more regions and counties few years ago. Situation in choosing people to directing position in schools, government companies, hospitals etc. is not clear. It is moving from government hands to local organizations, but central government still has a main word.

Source:, personal information

31. Pro business climate: 2.0

To have a successful business in Slovakia is not easy. Economic and political conditions are changing, for example, the change of government after election can cause your company bankrupt. When government of Prime minister Vladimir Meciar came to power, many foreign companies left Slovak market, what caused bankruptcy of many Slovak companies, f. e. suppliers of foreign companies. Banking system still mainly owned by state is unstable, it is not uncommon to see a bank bankrupt, citizens and businesses are losing all money in bankrupting bank. Rate of unemployment in Slovakia is high, about 15%-20%, but in some regions 60% people are not employed. If people doesn’t have money, they cannot effort to buy products or services, what is making it hard to open a business. Although a pro business climate is not very good, situation is improving.

Source: personal information

32. Government enterprises: 2.0

Slovakia is still in the process of transformation from central directed economy to market economy. Until year 1989 everything in Slovakia was own by government. In 1989 system in Slovakia changed and Slovakia prepared a privatization process. During the first wave of large-scale privatization over 670 state-owned enterprises worth US$ 5.3 billion were privatized.

During the second wave, over 880 companies worth SKK 103.0 bn (GBP 1.8 bn) have been privatized through direct sales, some tenders and NPF bonds. The private sector now generates over 80% of GDP. Problem of this process was that former government was very corrupt and process of privatization is full of still investigated crimes made by former government of the prime minister Vladimir Meciar. Current government is better in this matter , but corruption is still a big problem in Slovakia.

In September 1999 an amendment to privatization law was passed, abolishing the status of "strategic companies" and allowing their future privatization The Slovak cabinet will decide about the extent of companies' privatization considered as natural monopolies while the law will not set the state's share in these companies. However, there are exceptions: Slovak Electric (power generation, SE), three energy distribution companies, Slovak Gas (SPP), and Transpetrol (oil transit) in which the state will keep a majority share 51 percent. The Government will also sell up to 90% of the Slovak Savings Bank, 85% of VUB bank, 92% of IRB bank and up to 85% of Slovak Insurance company. As you can see main banks and insurance companies are still mainly owned by state. However many foreign investors became majority shareholders of some Slovak banks and insurance companies, this process is still in progress.

Source: personal information,

33. International security agreements: 4.0

Slovakia is one of the countries invited to enter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO), which purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. In 2003 the Slovak citizens decided in the referendum to enter the NATO. So during last year and this year the representatives of the Slovak government and mainly of the Ministry of defence of the Slovak Republic attended several meetings with representatives of the NATO to prepare conditions for entrance of Slovakia to the alliance. During the accession process, the Slovak Republic and its armed forces will make complex preparations for entry into the political and military structures of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Slovak Republic will realize its national program of Preparation for Entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (PRENAME) in accordance with the Membership Action Plan (MAP), which was approved at the Washington Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The Slovak army is not strong at all. Slovakia has population of 5.5 million, it is too small country to be able to obtain a strong army. NATO is working with Slovakia to improve the condition of the Slovak army. Slovakia also cooperates with other counties of middle Europe region under the CENCOOP agreements.


34. Protection of domestic enterprises from government mandated costs: 2.0

The Slovak government imposes a complicated system of direct and indirect taxes on enterprises. The income tax rate for enterprises is 25%. Businesses active in agriculture by more than 50% of all activities pay income tax rate 15%. All employers are required by law to pay employees unemployment insurance, and full health insurance coverage.

To make it easier to for small businesses, government made a program called Support for small ad middle sized enterprises. Part of it is possibility to buy or rent a government property for a price lower than a market price or enterprises can get grant of maximum 100 000 EUR. Slovakia is preparing for entrance to the European Union, as a part of that the European Union helped to establish The national program Phare. This program provides grants for enterprises active in tourism and industry. The official purpose of this project is “To increase the competitiveness of the Slovak tourism sector and strengthen the administrative capacities of the central and regional structures to manage and implement EU Structural Funds type of projects” and “ To increase the value added content of Slovak industry through enhanced product offerings and process technologies through a grant scheme procedure, which will also have the effect of increasing the capacity of the central an regional structures to manage future EU Structural and Cohesion Funds.



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