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Slovakian report Slovakian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-11-13 08:44:29
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Euro zone split may be necessary

 Euro zone member Slovakia believes it might be better for some states to leave the currency if they cannot make necessary reforms, its prime minister said on Friday, saying a "de facto" split already existed. Prime Iveta Radicova said governments in some of the more indebted countries had lied to their own people and their European partners, helping create the current storm. Saving the currency bloc was vital for Slovakia and other members, she said, but it required painful choices. Slovakia has been a vocal critic of bailouts for indebted states during the crisis and did not take part in the first aid package for Greece.

Radicova said a currency exit for some states might be the least worst option. "I do not think it would be that damaging," she told Reuters in an interview in London. "You know, I like Greece. It is a wonderful country. But they have defaulted on their debt before and we can say, maybe, that it is their style. If they want to keep up that style they will have to do it from outside the euro zone...  we have to ask countries if they want to play a part... it are much more broad-based than Greece." She did not say whether she had discussed this with key euro zone members such as France and Germany. Germany in particular has denied discussing such an option -- although Radicova said a growing split already existed.

"If we have a look at what is going on, we have to say that de facto breakup is already here," she said. "If we look at the southern euro zone, we can see there is a systematic need for change." Any country that left might be able to continue using the euro domestically, she said, but would no longer be part of the wider bloc. Slovakia itself, she said, was keen to remain part of the euro even if others left. Slovakia was one of the last countries to join the 17-nation bloc, and whilst its membership remains domestically popular the cost of bailing out fringe euro zone states has been politically explosive. Radicova saw her government fall last month after it lost a confidence vote largely over funding the European Financial Stability Facility. After initially failing to pass through parliament, the measure eventually passed but only after the ruling coalition agreed to elections in March. Radicova herself, a former sociologist, will then stand down and play no part in the election campaign. "We have to do everything we can so that the euro does not fail," she said. "Otherwise, all of us who need to ask for loans from the financial markets will have terrible problems, just like Italy, perhaps worse."


Slovak gold coin honours Prince Pribina of Nitra

The Kremnica Mint on behalf of the National Bank of Slovakia have launched (7th November) a new gold coin which pays homage to Slovakia’s past history and remembers the preceding principality of Nitra, considered the pre-curser of Slovakian culture and heritage. The coin marks the 1,150th anniversary of the death of Pribina (800 – 861) national hero who established his own principality in 836 in territory now in Hungary and was the first ruler of Slavic origin to build a Christian church on Slavic territory and also the first to accept baptism. The consecration of the church in Nitrava took place around 827, thus it was the first church in all Eastern Europe whose existence is documented in writing. Pribina was killed in 861 during a battle, his son Kocel was installed as the ruler of Lower Pannonia in 864. The figure of Pribina was last seen on the 20 Koruna banknote issued from the National Bank in 1993 until Slovakia’s adoption of the EURO in 2009.

The obverse of the coin which is designed by sculptor Ivan Řehák, depicts the relief of a medieval sculpture of Pribina attributed to a fragment of a gilded plaquette from an altar which comes from the archaeological site in Bojná. The figure is positioned within an incused larger profile of the Prince along with the text “NITRIANSKE KNIEZA PRIBINA 861″ (Prince Pribina of Nitra, 861)

The reverse of the coin includes an image of the Castle of Nitra set within an incused shape of an outline of a bell – an old Christian symbol.  The featured bell comes from an important archaeological site in Bojná and is dated back to the 9th century. The text “SLOVENSKO 2011″ is positioned above the locket outline with the coin’s denomination appearing below the primary design. The coin, which is only the second issue from the National Bank of Slovakia with a face value of 100 EURO, is struck to proof quality with a gold content of .900 fine and a weight of 9.5 grams, the diameter is 26 mm. The coin will be available from December but this and other coins scheduled for issue can be reserved for delivery.


Law change gives younger drivers a go

Young people under the age of 18 will soon be seen driving on Slovak roads. As of November 1, that is just one of the numerous changes brought about by an amendment to the law. Also included are several new rules for drivers to observe.

Formerly, driving was the preserve of the over-18s. Now, 16-year-olds are eligible to receive driving lessons, and 17-year-olds can take a driving test and drive on Slovak roads, but only if they are accompanied by an adult driver who has held a valid licence for at least ten years. Adult co-drivers must also follow all the rules that apply to regular drivers, such as those on alcohol consumption. And every young driver will only be allowed one specific co-driver, who will be registered with the police.

The police expect the new rules to have a positive effect, as happened following a similar change in Germany: a drop in the accident rate among young drivers by one third, according to the head of the national transport police Milan Hamar.

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