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Prices high, living standards low

SLOVAKIA'S economic effectiveness only slightly exceeds half of the EU25 average, according to a report published by Slovakia's central bank (NBS). The Slovak economy reached 53.9 percent of the EU economic efficiency index, which calculates gross domestic product (GDP) per head in purchasing power parity. The indicator also involves price levels both in Slovakia and the EU, the TASR news agency reported.

"In 2004, the level of prices stood at around 54.2 percent of the EU price level average," analysts said. They expect this ratio, in terms of purchasing power parity, to grow to 58.7 percent by the end of 2008, while the ratio of price levels should be up to 61.1 percent.

This projected improvement is supposed to be the result of rapid economic growth, projected to exceed 5 percent this year as well as in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, the economy is projected to grow by 6.7 percent, followed by slower growth (around 4.8 percent) in 2008.

According to analysis, the labour market and employment policies are the most critical fields with respect to bridging the gaps in the aforementioned figures.

The gaps should continue to narrow, but matching the EU level is unrealistic for another decade, the study added.

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