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Slovakian report Slovakian report
by Euro Reporter
2012-03-02 07:50:01
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Labour ministry official says Roma draw 4.4 percent of Slovakia’s GDP

Roma living in Slovakia do not participate in the economy of the country in any way and only draw from it and this costs the country up to 4.4 percent of its GDP, said Lucia Nicholsonová, the State Secretary, i.e. deputy minister, of the Labour Ministry from Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party at a conference on Roma issues on February 29, the TASR newswire reported. The labour ministry official added that the whole system is unsustainable in the long term and provides benefits to those who do not need them.

“It cost us all about €3.1 billion, which is 4.4 percent of the GDP,” Nicholsonová stated to TASR. The conference heard presentations about the outcomes of an analysis of Slovakia's social system that was carried out in cooperation with the World Bank and the UN Development Fund. The findings of the analysis are shocking, said Peter Harrold, the World Bank’s director for Eastern Europe, as reported by TASR, which wrote that his opinions differed from Nicholsonová’s.

The document reported that 62 percent of Slovaks who receive poverty allowances from the state are people without children, a finding which contradicts the commonly-held belief that it is primarily large Roma families who benefit from state allowances. Harrold also noted that employment rates among Roma in Slovakia are the lowest in Europe. Alekos Tsolakis of the European Commission (EC) said the commission has an interest in how Roma issues are handled in Slovakia. "The EC has taken the initiative and requested that member states prepare programmes for inclusion of Roma. There are a lot of problems when it comes to the Roma integration strategy, including when it comes to the way of thinking,"


Slovakia Also Recalls its Ambassador from Minsk

Expressing solidarity and mutual support of joint activities of the EU member-states, as well as a protest against the actions and policies of Belarus, Foreign Minister of Slovakia Mikulas Dzurinda decided to withdraw the ambassador of the Slovakia, Marian Servatka in Bratislava for consultations. This was reported in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic has expressed concern at the proposal to the EU head and Poland's ambassador to leave Belarus, and regrets over the decision of Belarus to withdraw its ambassador from Poland and Belarus' Permanent Representative to the EU in Brussels," said in the Slovak Foreign Ministry.

"Slovakia fully supports the existing political statements and the European Union restrictive measures against the Lukashenko regime, aimed at the rehabilitation and release of political prisoners in Belarus and initiation of an open dialogue with the civil society and political opposition in the country. The aim of the EU restrictive measures is to stop the persecution of the Belarusian citizens by the Lukashenko regime and to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms," noted the Foreign Minister of Slovakia.

As Telegraf previously reported, February 29, Polish ambassador to Belarus Leszek Sherepka and head of the EU Maira Mora left Minsk for their capitals. Meanwhile, the responsibility of heads of the EU diplomatic missions in Belarus will be taken by Witold Yurash and Richard Rudolph, respectively.


Slovakia wants to name a bridge after Chuck Norris

Some fine folks in Bratislava, Slovakia have been building a walkway and bicycling bridge into Austria for a while, which is an admirable goal and one deserving of a name. To promote the new bridge, the Slovakian government is allowing the public to vote to name the structure, a voting opportunity that will run until April. Currently, the Slovakian government is reporting a strange namesake for the bridge is running ahead of the pack.

Martial arts expert and pop culture phenomenon Chuck Norris has earned over 70% of the vote regarding the naming of the new Slovakian bridge. Naming a pedestrian bridge after Walker is pretty apt if you ask me, but the name pales in comparison to the more gentrified title Maria Theresa and the much more functional title Devinska cycling bridge that are also in the running. According to Reuters, the obsession with Norris’ macho qualities has become a running joke in the area where the bridge is being built.

Even if the Chuck Norris bridge has already been backed up by 1,157 votes, the name is not completely in the clear yet. Voting will still be allowed until April, when the regional assembly will officially decide on the new bridge’s name. However, with Governor Pavol Freso stating the assembly plans to back the public’s vote, it is looking increasingly likely that Chuck Norris will earn a namesake. Maybe he’ll even drop by for a ribbon cutting ceremony. A girl can dream.

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