IF THERE is a country which has a long history of wanting to be like other countries, it’s surely Slovakia. So Economy Minister Juraj Miškov’s plan to turn it into the Singapore of central Europe is not completely surprising. Even before sharing a common state Slovaks compared themselves against the Czechs, who, unfortunately, tended to be better at most things.
There were decades, when the slogan “Soviet Union, our example” was official state doctrine. Yes, those were the same decades when emigrants risked their lives to get to Germany, France, or the US. Commercials for Haribo gummi bears, Milka chocolate, and Billa supermarkets on Austrian television probably did more for the fall of communism than the yearning for political rights.
Later came the dreams of Swiss pensions, the road to which was to be paved by copying the Chilean pension system. And for years, the political right wanted the country to become as dynamic and successful as Ireland.
Still, Miškov’s idea seems a little odd. The first association most Slovaks have with Singapore is – nothing. And a second thought doesn’t help much either.
Perhaps the former advertising guru believes that a touch of the exotic can help the ratings of his SaS party. Since polls revealed two weeks ago that its popularity is now just above the 5 percent mark required for getting into parliament, not a day goes by without party representatives introducing some sort of initiative – the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes, support for the gay pride march, savings in parliament, you name it.
The other possibility is that Miškov just doesn’t want to get caught in a trap of unrealistic expectations. Everyone can tell that that Slovakia is no Switzerland. With Singapore, you can never be sure.
13. Jun 2011 at 0:00 | Lukáš Fila