Geopolitics

Slovakia's First Woman President, Another Velvet Revolution?

Zuzana Čaputová becomes the country's first female head of state, and brings hope to Slovaks looking to end to corruption and to others for a response to populism across Europe.

-OpEd-

With Zuzana Čaputová, Slovakia enters the world political stage as a bearer of hope. Nothing similar has happened in Central Europe since Václav Havel became president of Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution.

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Slain Slovak Journalist: How Italian Mob Expands Into Eastern Europe

Slovakian authorities are investigating ties between politicians and the Calabria-based Ndràngheta crime syndicate following the killing, last week, of an investigative reporter. Mobsters have been siphoning EU development funds.

BRATISLAVA — In early morning raids across the small towns of Michalovce and Trebišov, in eastern Slovakia, police this week arrested seven Italian men linked to the recent killings of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his partner, Martina Kusnirova.

Kuciak was gunned down last Thursday in his home in the town of Velká Maca, east of the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. The journalist had been working on an article that describes the vast Slovakian operations of the Italian "Ndràngheta crime syndicate, including its dealings in agriculture and ties to high-ranking politicians.

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Can Slovakia, Eurozone's Former Black Sheep, Maintain Its Miracle Growth?

In less than a decade, Slovakia has gone from bottom of the class to best in show, with a 2.5% growth in 2012. Will it be able to keep up the miracle, or will it turn out to be just a mirage?

The past ten years have been a success story for Slovakia. The country was the last to arrive in the Eurozone (in 2009), and here it is, taunting Europe. Industrial production is still growing: +2% in May, +10.8% yearly, according to figures published on July 10. In 2012, the growth rate was approximately 2.5%, far from the other, considerably feebler European economies.

Who remembers that in October last year, Bratislava rejected the European Financial Stability Facility before forcing itself to approve it, at the cost of a political crisis? In June, Slovakian parliament ratified the European Stability Mechanism, to which it will contribute 659 million euros over five years. “We’ve often been considered the black sheep of Europe! And now we are the good guys!” says Juraj Karpis, an analyst at the Institute for Economic and Social studies in Bratislava.

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