NEWS BRIEFS

Dzurinda promises better life in 2005

THE SLOVAK government intends to implement its approved reforms this year aiming at improving citizens' standard of living, said PM Mikuláš Dzurinda, unveiling the government's priorities for 2005.

"We expect 2005 to be a year of real-wage growth at more than 3 percent," said Dzurinda. The number of new jobs should also grow by 1 percent, while consumer price inflation should slow down. The cabinet also wants to address the issue of regional disparities.

This year, the Slovak government has yet to push through the reform on university funding. Other priorities include attaining an active presence in the Euro Atlantic structures, the drawing of European funds, and Slovakia's fulfilment of criteria to join the European Monetary Union (EMU) and the Schengen Agreement on outer EU border safety.

The government also wants to focus on the restoration and development of the High Tatras, which were hit by gale-force winds, resulting in a natural disaster.

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