Slovakia has slipped to a new low in a global list which has compared countries’ economic competitiveness since 1997. It ended 71st of 144 countries evaluated in the Global Competitive Report 2012-2013, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The result is two places worse than last year, the Business Alliance of Slovakia (PAS), an employers’ lobbying group, noted.
“The fall of Slovakia in the list is caused by the ongoing barriers to business that the governments, despite [its] declared statements, is not able to eliminate,” said Robert Kičina, executive director of PAS, which is a partner institution of the WEF.
He added that Slovakia has definitely lost its image as a reforming country and since 2004 entrepreneurs have not seen any new reforms that would improve the country’s business environment.
“Slovakia fell in the list for the sixth time in a row and, more significantly, has fallen behind other V4 countries [i.e. the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary],” Kičina added.
The main barriers to the country’s competitiveness are relatively ineffective public institutions, the low enforceability of laws, the high budget deficit, the low effectiveness of public expenditure, the low quality of the education system, an ineffective labour market, bureaucracy, cronyism as well as corruption, Kičina explained.
On the other hand, Slovakia was praised for its openness to foreign ownership of companies, low customs barriers, laws supporting foreign investment and the technical forwardness of investors coming to Slovakia.
The most competitive country in 2012, according to the WEF report, was Switzerland, followed by Singapore, Finland and Sweden.
Of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries the most competitive country was the Czech Republic, which ended 39th. Poland finished 41st and Hungary 60th.
“The results of this year’s Global Competitiveness Report reflect the continuation in the trend of moderate economic revival in the world economies,” Kičina said, adding that three-quarters of the top 20 countries achieved better results than in 2011.
Slovakia ended as the third least competitive country in Europe, above only Romania and Greece.
Source: PAS press release
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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