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Slovakian report Slovakian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-08-14 10:15:23
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Slovak Inflation Slows for Second Month to 3.7% on Food Prices

Slovakia’s inflation rate fell for a second month to 3.7 percent in July from 3.9 percent in the previous month, the statistics office said.

Consumer prices dropped 0.1 percent on the month after being unchanged in June, the office said in a statement today in Bratislava, Slovakia. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of four economists was for an inflation rate of 3.9 percent and monthly price growth of 0.1 percent.

The inflation slowdown was led by food prices, which fell 1.2 percent from June, followed by a 0.3 percent drop in prices of clothing and shoes. Raising the most were prices of health care, which were up 0.8 percent.


Student’s science knowledge on display in Bratislava

One Swift Current Comprehensive High School student’s interest in wheat varieties recently turned into a trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. Angela Howell, 16, travelled to the Central European country for the Milset Expo-Sciences International science fair July 18- 23. There, she displayed her project which had her go from the Comp’s regional science fair, to a Canada-wide science fair in Peterborough, Ont., to Bratislava.
Howell's project focused on what is called “The Golden Ratio,” which she described as “number which was discovered by ancient Greeks, a ratio that’s found a lot in nature, and that seems to be a defining factor in nature.” In her project, Howell compared the levels of the Golden Ratio in both an heirloom variety of wheat and a highly hybridized variety. She discovered the heirloom variety was closer to this ancient and natural number than the modified variety. Her life growing up on a farm in constant contact with agriculture led to Howell’s curiosity about the healthiest and most feasible options for an agricultural producer.

“I’ve always wondered what would happen to our operation if we did perhaps switch entirely over to organic, and on this scale would it be feasible,” she said, after her return from Slovakia. “I’m wondering if the plants that we use in a crop are going to have a long-term effect on the environment.” Her opinion, after beginning to look at genetically-modified plants in this context, is that more research is needed into the effects of those varieties on their surrounding environment. From some of her reading and research, Howell said she has discovered in some genetically-modified varieties problems can take place: roots can be weak and deformed, or the modified plants begin to breed with surrounding plants and cause them to lose pollination ability.

“I’m wondering if it’s a thing that 300 years down the road, would we regret it? I think we need to do more research into whether it would have any long-term effects.”  Howell joined 44 other Canadian students from six provinces at the international science fair. Sixty countries were represented at Expo Sciences International, which has been held every second year since the inaugural event in Quebec in 1987. The event has been held in such diverse countries as Kuwait and South Africa, Chile and Russia.
The fair was “mostly non-competitive.” Howell said the point was to mingle, interact with participants from around the world and gather new friends and ideas. It was the Grade 10 student’s first time travelling outside North America, and she said she was inspired by the people she met from around the world. Her favourite parts of the experience were “learning how to speak Thai with the Thai people and playing games with the Russians, things like that.” Howell isn’t sure if she will pursue a career in sciences; though she said she enjoys science, she said, she’s also considering a future in law. “I do enjoy sciences; just understanding our world more.”


Slovakia’s SaS party says changes to the EFSF are ‘a road to socialism’

The Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, a member of the four-party governing coalition in Slovakia, has rejected changes to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) agreed upon by European leaders, SaS chair Richard Sulík confirmed after a meeting with Prime Minister Iveta Radičová on August 8, the TASR newswire reported. The change in the rules and an increase in the resources for the EFSF must be approved by the Slovak parliament, which will be difficult for the governing coalition without votes from SaS.

"We consider these mechanisms to be counter-productive tools. They would put Slovakia in debt for a long time. We view this as an attempt to put out a fire with a fan," said Sulík to TASR. He added that even financial markets view the repeated intervention of the eurozone on behalf of individual problematic countries as a weakness. Even though Slovakia might become the first country to reject changes to EFSF, Sulík does not think it would be the only country to do so. SaS also has reservations about the more flexible rules for the operation of the EFSF that would allow the mechanism to buy bonds of problematic countries.

"This would pave the way for a debt union, a straight road to complete socialism. It would be like the Soviet Union all over again. The Soviet Union had 15 republics, the EU will have 27," Sulík said, stressing that Slovakia had not entered into such a union. Sulik also criticised the recent decision made by the European Central Bank (ECB) to buy Italian and Spanish bonds. "We in SaS will do everything so that it [the proposal] does not pass in parliament," Sulík said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, adding that it is not a valid argument that default by some countries could cause a recession. "Okay, let GDP decline for two quarters in a row. But it's worth the billions that would have gone from Slovakia," he stated. Radicová announced she wants to discuss the current situation in the eurozone and the future stability of the common European currency with President Ivan Gašparovič as well as other representatives of both ruling coalition and opposition parties. She believes that talks aimed at coming to as much agreement as possible in the common interest of Slovakia could be held sometime this month.

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