Angel Gurria, the general secretary of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a club of the world’s industrialised countries, predicted that Slovakia would be relatively better off than other states during the ongoing financial and economic crisis, in comments made in Bratislava on February 10.
According to Gurria, who was in Bratislava to present an OECD report on Slovakia, Slovakia has proved during its 16 years of existence as an independent country that it is a viable democracy with a dynamically growing economy, the TASR newswire wrote.
Gurria believes that despite the global economic crisis having also hit Slovakia, it will still have the best economic results in Europe. One important asset, according to him, is Slovakia's successful entry to the eurozone.
Speaking at the same time, Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič praised the stance of Slovak trade unions which, according to him, have realised the gravity of the situation and won’t call for salary increases. Slovakia's main priority is to maintain employment, economic growth and social programmes. Gurria pointed out that there were several recommendations in the ‘Economic Overview Slovakia 2009’ report that he presented, such as focusing more intensively on regional differences.
According to the OECD's report, the high unemployment rates in some Slovak regions could be resolved by making it easier for people to move to find work. This involves improving housing policies, including support for the building of flats for the socially-disadvantaged. The report said that the current structure of Slovak housing is characterised by very few flats for rent, which weakens labour mobility and exacerbates high unemployment rates in the regions.
Gašparovič also expressed his belief that this economic crisis would prove the need for state control. What he called ‘the liberal right’ could no longer reject social programmes, he said, adding that what he called ‘leftist policy’ could not work without accepting the rules of the market. He also said that EU could not function as just a political union, but also had to be an economic mechanism. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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11. Feb 2009 at 10:00