BUSNESS IN SHORT

Merkel visited Slovakia

ECONOMIC growth and unemployment reduction are shared priorities for Slovakia and Germany, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bratislava on October 20.

ECONOMIC growth and unemployment reduction are shared priorities for Slovakia and Germany, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bratislava on October 20.

During her one-day visit Merkel met also with Slovak President Andrej Kiska in addition to receiving an honorary doctorate “Doctor honoris causa” from Comenius University for her work as a researcher and stateswoman.

“We’re watching with concern indications of an economic slowdown in the eurozone and the European Union,” said PM Robert Fico as cited by the TASR newswire. “This is why we need to work together to find resources that will generate economic growth and cut unemployment, which are among our joint priorities.”

PM Fico also brought up the recent cuts in gas supplies from Russia, calling them a “reason for serious concern”.

“Supplies of such raw materials shouldn’t be a tool in the political struggles of the supplier, and I believe that the attainment of peace and stability in Ukraine will also result in the attainment of stability in gas supplies to Europe,” said Fico.

Merkel emphasised the need for a joint course of action in promoting energy security in Europe, and she praised Slovakia’s efforts to cooperate by enabling reverse gas flows.

She expressed her major commitment to making sure that talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia will be concluded in a timely manner so that gas supplies are not disrupted during the winter.

She also highlighted the importance of the Slovak automotive industry and car plants, including the Volkswagen factory in Bratislava. Merkel also praised Slovakia’s adoption of a number of reforms in recent years and the results that the country has achieved, such as its move to squeeze the budget deficit below 3 percent of GDP, its well-functioning industry and its level of competitiveness.

Germany has been Slovakia’s most important trading partner since 1998. There are about 500 German companies operating in Slovakia with a combined turnover of over €15 billion.

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