THE NETHERLANDS keeps topping investment charts with billions of euros in investments in Slovakia with established businesses extending their investments. But as Slovakia will chair the European Union during the second half of 2016 for the first time, it would like to share the EU presidency experience with the Netherlands, as this country which is similar to Slovakia in terms of size, will hold this position just before Slovakia.
“The bilateral economic cooperation between the Netherlands and Slovakia has always been strong; the Netherlands belongs among the top investors in Slovakia and also is an important trade partner,” Ivan Vereš, economic and trade officer at the Dutch Embassy in Bratislava, told The Slovak Spectator. “The present year was a breakthrough year when it comes to the scope of the economic cooperation.”
This is related to the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, when in the beginning of 2016, the EU presidency will be held by the Netherlands, followed by Slovakia and then Malta.
Vereš explained that the presidency rotates among the EU member states every six months. The presidency’s function is to chair meetings of the Councils, determine its agendas, set a work programme and facilitate a dialogue at Council meetings and with other EU institutions. As the rotational period is rather short, three successive presidencies (TRIO) must work closely together on their agendas. The preparations for the EU presidency started this year. There have been a number of high-level meetings between Dutch and Slovak authorities that focused on the EU presidency topics, including economic topics. Over the course of next year this Dutch-Slovak dialogue will intensify further.
“We gladly share the Dutch EU presidency experience,” Vereš said, adding that the Netherlands has already held this position 11 times. “Both countries are open, export-oriented economies, which are prone to be influenced by fluctuations in global economic situations and this makes our cooperation even easier.”
Vereš added that the Netherlands and Slovakia share many views at the bilateral level and the upcoming presidency also widens the scope and the importance of their bilateral discussions.
“We view the opportunity to lead together the European Union as the unique chance to strengthen our cooperation even more,” said Vereš.
Based on preliminary data of the National Bank of Slovakia, the Netherlands is the number one investor in Slovakia, with its aggregate direct foreign investments amounting to almost €9 billion as of the end of 2012.
Richard Dírer from The Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) recalled for The Slovak Spectator that after an initial significant investment period through 2009, which saw primarily institutional investors and investments of about €8 billion, things have shifted toward small and medium-sized enterprises and corresponding amounts of investments.
According to Vereš, Slovakia is noted among Dutch investors for a number of positive aspects, while he highlighted Slovakia’s relatively cheap and qualified labour force, good central location, political stability and acceptance of the euro.
Dutch investment in Slovakia is more or less stable. Growth of investment, however, is not as high as it was in previous years, according to Vereš.
The Dutch embassy registered this year two Dutch investors who extended their presence on the Slovak market. The company DAVINCI, a financial software development company, opened a new office in Žilina where it relocated software engineers working on projects worldwide. Company Yssel, that produces construction materials, announced the opening of a production facility near Nové Zámky.
1. Dec 2014 at 0:00 | Jana Liptáková