JÁN Slota is upset over land protests.
Ján Slota (JS): I think that this investment is of high priority for the Slovak Republic and must not be endangered by incompetent people who have no clue about the pricing of real estate and land. It is out of the question that the town of Žilina, or people of the northwestern region of Slovakia, or even the whole of Slovakia, could afford losing an investment of such a calibre because of some speculators. We have put enormous effort into gaining this investment in competition with 10 tough runners. We won only because my employees at the municipal office had been working on the project for at least one year even before the Koreans came here. And now someone is deceitfully trying to devalue the investment by creating artificial problems. It is an outrage. Of course there are third parties like Mr [Fedor] Flašík and some others who have enough millions stored somewhere not to truly care about those few people who give them some thousand crowns for their legal advice.
TSS: Do you think that Mr Flašík has the potential to seriously endanger the investment?
JS: Of course not. I sense that the wind is also blowing from a foreign country and the opponents of Mr Rusko, or someone else from the government - which is not unified even when it calls itself a coalition government - over the issue of contracts. We can see that on the TV screens and hear the statements of ministers. Some make irresponsible statements."
TSS: Recently the police started investigating the case of a Kia billboard that was set on fire. Do you think it was a provocation? What is the public's opinion of the Kia investment?
JS: You could ask anyone from Žilina; you could ask 700,000 people from the Žilina region; and approximately 699,000 will tell you that this investment is a perfect thing and will help the whole region. Those few who think that their land, which was worth Sk20 (€0.50) [per square metre] a couple of months ago, now has the value of Sk350 (€8.77) per square metre - they set the billboard on fire. If they think they represent public opinion, they are wrong. They are only saboteurs and it is irresponsible of the media to present them as representative of the public opinion. I truly wonder why some journalists build it up so much.
There are people who want to get jobs and we have already received thousands of applications. This is the reality. And after the first car rolls out of the plant, the investment importance for the Slovak economy will rise further. Slovakia's rating jumped immediately after the investment was announced.
19. Jul 2004 at 0:00 | Beata Balogová