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December: The year in business Mochovce budget hike cleared. The Economy Ministry agreed to increase the budget on building two new reactors at the Mochovce nuclear power plant of Slovenské Elektrárne. Costs will balloon a further €830 million to €4.63 billion. The state owns a third of SE’s shares with Italian conglomerate Enel controlling the rest. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
November: The year in business Slovak banks pass stress tests. Slovakia’s three biggest banks – Slovenská Sporiteľňa, VÚB and Tatra Banka passed the European Central Bank’s (ECB) financial health tests and will not need to raise additional capital. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
October: The year in business Construction giant in trouble. The Bratislava I District Court accepted the request to start the restructuring process in the construction company Váhostav. After Doprastav, it is the second big construction company in Slovakia in trouble. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
September: The year in business Reverse gas flow from Slovakia to Ukraine launched. High Representative of the European Union Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, together with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, ceremonially opened the valve of the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline on September 2. The capacity of the so-called small reverse version of transit that uses the existing, unused Vojany pipeline near Veľké Kapušany on the Slovak side is 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
August: The year in business S&P improves Slovakia’s outlook. After exiting the EU’s excessive deficit procedure some months ago, Slovakia received more good news. Rating agency Standard & Poor’s revised its outlook for Slovakia to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’. At the same time, it affirmed its ‘A/A-1’ long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings for Slovakia. Such ratings are important for the interest rates at which the country borrows money. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
July: The year in business The change at the post of the economy minister. Halfway through his term, Prime Minister Robert Fico changed two of his ministers and a number of state secretaries. He offered no specific explanation for why Dušan Čaplovič was asked to quit as education minister and why Tomáš Malatinský would no longer serve as economy minister. The latter was replaced by Pavol Pavlis, thus-far state secretary of the Economy Ministry. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
June: The year in business E-Health plan postponed. People waiting for electronic services in health care will have to wait another year. The Health Ministry halted the competition over the system to secure, among other things, connections between hospitals and general practitioners’ clinics, and postponed the implementation of its e-Health project to 2017 over concerns that it might have to return some EU funds. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
May: The year in business Car production rose in 2013. A total of 987,718 cars were produced in Slovakia last year, up by 6.6 percent compared to 2012. The number of cars produced per 1,000 inhabitants in Slovakia stood at 182 in 2013, confirming Slovakia as the largest automobile manufacturer per capita in the world. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
April: The year in business Construction firms banned over cartel. The state National Highway Company excluded four construction giants – Doprastav, Strabag, Skanska and Inžinierske Stavby – from the public tender process in the wake of a cartel scandal from 2005 that also involved two other firms. The ban hit Doprastav and Skanska the hardest, as they were bidding for the largest highway tenders. On December 30, 2013, the Supreme Court upheld an Antitrust Office verdict finding six construction companies in Slovakia – Strabag, Doprastav, Betamot, Inžinierske Stavby, Skanska DS and Mota – Engil, Engenharia e Construcao – guilty of forming a cartel when competing for a highway construction order in a public tender. The companies involved must pay an aggregate fine of a record nearly €45 million. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
March: The year in business Slovakia faces the first drop in consumer prices. For the first time in its history, prices in Slovakia dropped compared to the previous year. Inflation measured using the national methodology stood at -0.1 percent in February, with core inflation at 0.3 percent and net inflation at 0.2 percent, the Statistics Office announced on March 12. Analysts ascribed the drop in prices to falling prices of food. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
February: The year in business Slovakia keeps Tokaj brand. Slovakia’s producers of Tokaj wine can continue to use the brand name after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared that the listing of the Slovak wine name “Vinohradnícka oblasť Tokaj” in the E-Bacchus register of protected designations of origins “does not constitute an actionable measure”. The European Commission added the name to the register after Slovakia requested that it be a protected designation of origin on the list of quality wines in specified regions. Hungary subsequently challenged the decision to register the name in Slovakia, but the ECJ turned down the appeal on February 13. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
January: The year in business Poprad airport has a new departures hall. The Poprad-Tatry Airport ceremonially opened the new departures hall, thanks to which the airport now meets the criteria for a Schengen international airport. This €2.6 million investment increased the capacity of the airport by 300 passengers to 450. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Reverse gas flow launched PROBABLY the most visible measure of a €250 million social-economic package, which the cabinet of Prime Minister Robert Fico designed in 2014 to compensate Slovaks for recent years of austerity, is free rail transport. As of November 17 the group of people eligible for free rail transport was extended to nearly half of the nation while the number of trains was also increased. At the same time two Czech rail carriers entered long-distance rail transport in Slovakia, too. Among other topics hitting front pages of newspaper over 2014 were the efforts of Italian energy group Enel to sell its majority stake in the Slovak dominant power producer Slovenské Elektrárne and the launch of the reverse flow of the natural gas from Slovakia to Ukraine. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Ryanair to fly Bratislava-Athens Business in short Locked THE IRISH low-cost airline Ryanair will be adding Athens to the list of destinations that travellers will be able to reach by air from Bratislava come the summer of 2015. There will be three flights to the Greek capital per week. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
New Korean investor heads to Žilina Business in short Locked THE HUB of Korean companies clustered around the carmaker Kia Motors Slovakia near Žilina may extend. Žilina Mayor Igor Choma announced that it is 90 percent sure that Sungwoo Hitech will build its plant, with the price tag of €50 million, in Žilina. The investors are still in talks with the Czech Republic. 22 Dec 2014 The Slovak Spectator
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“Even those who proposed it admitted that the law will be ineffective.” President Andrej Kiska explains why he refused to sign the anti-shell law.