AS THE September vote nears, financial experts are warning that, despite considerable progress in the current election term, the Slovak economy is still in a fragile state.
There has been much restructuring and privatisation allowing a boost in fixed investment as well as steady growth in GDP, but this has also lead to a surge in consumption and contributed to a massive trade deficit.
While the government has made progress in reducing spending, more fiscal responsibility is required, say experts, pointing to an unreformed health care sector, an unsustainable pension system, a welfare system that discourages work, and the cripplingly high social payments required to cover it all.
Slovakia has also been criticised for fudging some budget numbers by including one-off items as income on this year's balance sheet, such as the sale of telecom licenses, showing a rosier picture of state finances on paper than economic reality suggests.
In the Business Focus this week, The Slovak Spectator looks at the state of the Slovak macro-economy - particularly the recommendations and criticisms of international financial bodies (page 5), the deficit situation (page 6), the currency situation (page 7) and the response of Deputy PM for the Economy Ivan Mikloš (page 5).