JOINING the European Union in 2004 brought Slovakia into the European Economic Area (EEA) as well. Membership in the EEA opened new opportunities for grants from three EEA countries not in the EU -
Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
Many mutual cooperation projects between Slovakia and Norway are financed by EEA Grants.
“EEA Grants focus on supporting sustainable development, energy, and research, among other fields,” said Kjetil Kober, First Secretary of the Norwegian Embassy in Slovakia.
Statistics on mutual foreign trade between Slovakia and Norway show that there is a steady increase in both Norwegian imports from and exports to Slovakia.
However, imports of Slovak goods to Norway exceed the exports of Norwegian goods to Slovakia.
In 2006, Norwegian imports from Slovakia totalled Sk3.16 billion and Norwegian exports to Slovakia amounted to Sk1.48 billion. The largest amount of imports were telecommunication equipment, electrical machinery, paper, furniture and footwear, said Kober. On the export side there were iron and steel, scientific and technical equipment, paper and electric machinery.
The Norwegian Embassy is experiencing an increased interest in Slovakia among Norwegian business circles.
One of the major Norwegian investments in Slovak companies is Norsk Hydro Aluminium’s 55.3-percent share in Slovalco, an aluminium smelter in Žiar nad Hronom.
Slovalco was established in 1993 by Slovak aluminium producer ZSNP as a result of the Slovak company’s efforts to build a modern aluminium production plant. That same year the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Hydro Aluminium also acquired a stake in Slovalco. Hydro Aluminium currently holds a majority in Slovalco, while ZSNP owns 44.7 percent.
Other investments are Norwegian telecommunications company Eltek/Nera, which produces backup energy sources for the telecommunications industry from a plant in Liptovský Hrádok. And after acquiring the American company Teleflex, the Norwegian firm Kongsberg Automotive produces automotive parts in Vráble.
With SITA reports
21. Jul 2008 at 0:00 | Marta Ďurianová