April 2006

How Bratislava “rapes” the rest of Slovakia
Citizens of Slovakia do not be afraid of Euro!
What are you going to modernize then?
How much will Slovak entrepreneurs pay for the implementation of Euro?
When will you start your explaining campaign?
Have you elaborated information and communication strategy yet?
The Balearic Islands
The Upcoming G8 Summit in St. Petersburg: Challenges, Opportunities, and Responsibility
To find common approaches
Energy would not solve the poverty problem
A strategic action plan to fight bird flu
The humanitarian crises are the root cause of many large-scale diseases
„Humanitarian disaster“
The End of the World called Ushuaia
A Teacher in the Village - the Only Specimen
Howe-Leather Covers
The Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia is illegitimate (first part)
Just kidding! It’s the First of April?
Today and right now
Personalities of Slovak Jazz Scene
Martin Augustín (Born 25 November, 2006)
Slovaks have beaten French

How Bratislava “rapes” the rest of Slovakia
Every sovereign state has its capital city. It is the centre of state and governmental institutions, it is the most important administration, economic, political, cultural and social centre of the state, the symbol of state and the main representative of state sovereign and national pride. The capital cities are usually perceived like the places where all national and cultural elite concentrates, many important personalities, companies, scientific, sport and cultural capacities live there. There is an unwritten rule in many countries- what has happened in the capital will have direct influence on the entire state, its further development and character. In many cases, citizens are proud of their capital city, they respect decisions made by competent people, institutions, offices as well as consequent trends.
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. It has nearly five hundred thousand inhabitants. The city used to be known as Prespurk, Pozsony, and Pressburg. Many Slovaks, Germans, Hungarians and Jews lived there. From historical point of view, it has never played an essential role, apart from the period between 1939 and 1945 when it was the capital of the Slovak republic with fairly limited sovereign. After 1918, Bratislava became a part of a new Czechoslovak republic established based on the decisions made by powers. The new state needed the river Danube. Having been influenced by Czechoslovak republican ideology, the city was made Slovak and it became Czech colony in terms of culture and thinking. Germans and Hungarians were leaving the city as they had been purged for their disagreement with the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Slovaks living in the surrounding villages began migrating and they settled down in Bratislava. They tried to assimilate. However, Slovak cultural and national lives were developed in other regions, away from Bratislava, in Liptov, Orava, Gemer, Novohrad, Turiec, Spiš or Šariš… Let’s skip another part of history; mainly the era of socialism which made Bratislava the centre of Slovakia and almost everything had been centralized. It was not natural indeed! Let’s observe this beauty on the banks of the river Danube from another point of view, comparing to other Central European capitals. For example, after the Austro – Hungarian arrangement, multinational Budapest became the capital of the Hungarian part of the monarchy. The city was founded by joining Pest, Buda and Obuda. After formation of the Czechoslovak Republic, Prague became the capital, consisting of Czech and German inhabitants. These two cities have at least two things in common. When they became the capitals, they became leaders and creators of the inner character of each state. National, economic and political elite built and improved the whole country; similar elite in Prague developed the entire former Czechoslovakia. Can we compare Bratislava to these capitals? Can we say the same about national, political and cultural elite in Bratislava? Mainly, when it became the capital of the sovereign Slovak Republic in 1993.
Rather not. For thirteen year, Bratislava has been the symbol of state division: Bratislava and the rest of Slovakia. It has been digging a deep gap between itself and other regions; it has turned into the city of economic emigrants from other Slovak towns and villages, of people unable to find a job, a sense of life and conditions for their personal development. Although it becomes European by mixing Slovak and English languages together, and is proud of its much higher standard of living, compared to other regions in the EU, it is still incapable to catch up with Prague and Budapest. Needless to mention Vienna. These cities are ahead, not only in terms of architecture, size, and investments but mostly of their thinking and something else as well- Bratislava has no soul, generosity, human relationships, enthusiasm. Just money and ability to earn it in a clan or a lobbying group make Bratislava go round. Cynicism (Of any kind. And it does not matter whether it is political, economic, and cultural or social) have replaced honesty; speculations have substituted creativity; marketing television and medial rubbish in form of primitive competitions are being developed in stead of real culture, theatre and art, real entrepreneurship and ethic environment. Those who support spiritual and moral values, those who have their attitudes and opinions, they have to adjust to various “commercial blackmailers” or Americanized copycats in order to survive and get at least some leftovers, to be allowed to participate in trade, to get orders, advertisements or Euro funds. Stronger individuals leave this country. This “new-era plague” of Bratislava is trying to hide, being disguised by the words like national or Slovak, in or out, feeling or look. This “disease” wants to spread throughout Slovakia. It wants to hit children, youth and their parents like a drug turning a man into a zombie. It is important to protect ourselves and point at those who spread this “plague”. It is time to isolate them and treat them, far away from Bratislava. The European Union has 300 regions and Bratislava is only one of them.

Robert Matejovic, M.A.
Editor in Chief

Citizens of Slovakia do not be afraid of Euro!
“It is another step of our integration in Europe. It is not a goal; it is means for life of higher quality and higher living standard. Its implementation will have neutral influence on costs and savings, it watches the principle of consumer protection and not to do any harm to the citizen, only cash and cashless savings will be recounted, “claims Ivan Štefanec, a plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic for Euro implementation.

He is 44 years old; he was born in Považská Bystrica. He worked as a secretary of the Government Committee of the Slovak Republic for Renewal and Development of the High Tatras. Before that he had been a successful chief executive officer and manager of Coca-Cola Beverages Slovakia. He studied at Economic University in Bratislava, with specialization on economic and mathematical counting. He is a graduate from the first MBA study for managers from Central and East Europe with a diploma from Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. Apart from many other reputable professors, he also studied at Professor Douglas. The Independent Economic Forum awarded him a title Prominent of Economy for excellent economic results of Coca-Cola Company in Slovakia. He was also given Dale Carnegie Leadership Award 2003 for outstanding management of human sources. This award is usually given to the best world leaders. He was the first representative of Slovakia who was given it. He has been a plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic for implementation of Euro since January 2006. His main responsibility is to coordinate and stimulate works on Euro implementation, to communicate with citizens, entrepreneurs, domestic and foreign institutions and lead regular common meetings with heads of work committees. Final responsibility and decisions are on the Slovak Government and the National Bank of Slovakia.

Mr Štefanec, why did you accept this proposal of the Ministry of Economy?
I have been dealing with project management over the past years. Implementation of Euro is an outstanding project which does not repeat every day. It is a real challenge for Slovakia. I do not exaggerate if I say that Slovakia has occurred on the crossroads. After eight years, we began catching up with our neighbours in the integration of the European Union. We have an opportunity to implement Euro earlier that them.

You are a member of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union. You are a candidate for an MP to the Slovak Parliament. Wasn’t there a different candidate for that post?
I have plenty of experience in the area of project management. In the company Coca-Cola Beverages Slovakia, I had developed for ten years; I was responsible for the project focused on the preparation of entrepreneurial conditions in the EU in all new member states. I am glad that my effort resulted in non-problematic transformation of the company to the conditions of the EU in all the countries. I do not think my candidacy was motivated politically. I discussed this topic with the Prime Minister, Minister of Finances and Governor of the National Bank in Slovakia in May 2005. It is a scientific and non-political matter. First, I intended to complete the process we started through the Governmental Committee for Renewal and Development of the High Tatras. It was my priority until the end of last year.

Is that why you reigned from the post of secretary of the Committee on December 31, 2005?

You are member of the Consulting and Coordination Committee for Sustainable Development of the High Tatras which was established to realize the results from winning study focused on sustainable development in the High Tatras. It means that you have not finished your work as a secretary of the governmental committee?
I would like to carry on helping the Tatras. I am in the committee just because I am interested in it. The governmental as well as this committee signed a memorandum about coordination. Milan Baran is its chairperson. He is also a chairman of the District Office in Poprad and the director of the crisis crew. We would like this study to be realized. The Government helps somehow, mostly with the processes for the future. We did not have such a document for over thirty years. Nowadays, it is very important to realize this project and with people who live there. I have a good feeling that people like Ján Mokoš, Mayor of the High Tatras, Ján Mizerák, a director of the State Nature Protection or Peter Líška, a director of the Tatras National Park.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the realization of the winning Study for Sustainable Development of the High Tatras 2005 is not in accordance with the name of the study and it can threaten further existence of the Tatras National Park. The study does not define strategic procedure, does not determine hierarchical priorities, and does not define particular steps therefore it is not useful in the development of the region. It creates the space for non-systematic realization of the interests of subjects which have enough funds and know how to succeed. It all results in a list of arranged recommendations from which one chooses only what he needs and ignores the rest. What do you think of these critics?
The public competition lasted six months. Everybody could join in, an independent jury evaluated it. It was founded by the governmental committee, included specialists from the third sector. Whoever wanted to express their opinion, they could. This organization was allowed to do it as well s the representatives of state institutions coming from another state which is hiding behind the back of this organization. The final study from the public competition was elaborated by specialists and it gives space for every investor. It is obvious that the investor can and will invest in reconstruction of the current infrastructure. It is a crucial and essential point. In other words, we will not extend the areas used by man and build other areas in the National Park of Tatras. Apparently, we must renew a cable car line to Lomnický štít, renew and improve the quality of hotel services and improve transport and information infrastructure so that citizens had much better lives.

How do you evaluate present interest of Slovak and foreign investors in this region?
It seems the High Tatras have not moved forward yet. They have been waiting for investments in ski resorts modernization as well as modernization of accommodation since 1970?
We have registered a few investors from Slovakia, Italy and Great Britain. There are also investors whose investment plans reach the amount of milliards crowns. Accommodation capacities, transport infrastructure and overall services require investments.

Slovakia has received 215 million crowns from the Solidarity Fund of the EU. These funds were divided into six parts, i.e. six ministries. The Ministry of Agriculture got the most (87.17 million), Ministry of Environment (70.87 million) and the Ministry of Transport, Mail and Telecommunication got 47.63 million. The rest was divided and given to the resorts of economy, home affairs and health care. How will this money be used?
43 % of these funds will be used to reconstruct damaged infrastructure, mainly roads and buildings, 24 % will cover rescuing and ensuring works and 33?% will go to cleaning the area damaged by calamity. The similar division was elaborated by the Governmental Committee for Renewal and Development of the High Tatras and the government approved it.

What is the total amount of investments required by the renewal and development of the High Tatras?
According to the study of the sustainable development, 5 milliard Slovak crowns in coming five years. The intention of the governmental committee is to use funds of the EU, Slovak national budget and private sources to renew and reconstruct the area.

When you think of the possibilities of the national budget, its sources are rather limited. It is more reasonable to talk about private and European funds. If we take the campaign against private investors into consideration, who are purged by environmentalists and the third sector(they are accusing them of their plan to destroy and commercialize Tatras), there are only “dangerous” EU funds left. Is there a project which would help to recover?
Yes, we are beginning with the project of the cross-border collaboration which should improve transport infrastructure and build electric railway around the High Tatras. This railway will be connected with the airport in Poprad, it will reduce car transport significantly and trucks will be forbidden in the area of the National Park of the High Tatras. It will last five years, only the project preparation will take two years. We are interested in financing from the funds primarily within the programs of cross- border cooperation.

The results of the Slovak sportsmen at Turin Olympics showed that if Slovakia wants to preserve classical winter sports, a lot of money must be invested in modernization of cross country and down hill skiing tracks, a ski-jump and sled tracks. Otherwise, Slovakia will lose its contact with the world but mostly its trainers and people interested in these sports. What is your opinion?
The evaluation commission, which analysed this winning study of sustainable development of the High Tatras, included such people as Ján Filc, President of the Winter Sports Union. As I said, we will not build new but reconstruct the original sport centres. When we repair and modernize ski resorts, cross- country tracks, ski-jumps and hotels, international sport activities might come back. Tatras have its reputation in Slovakia and we must spread this reputation. We will organize special activities. We must renew the tradition of World Cup in classical skiing that used to be held in the High Tatras.

What are you going to modernize then?
Three centres- Smokovec, Tatranská Lomnica and Štrbské Pleso. And main down-hill skiing slopes- in Hrebienok, Solisko and from Lomnické sedlo to Tatranská Lomnica, cable cars, hotels, roads and car parks. Of course, all the projects are the subject of the process of the area planning.

Present discussion concerning the renewal of the High Tatras has become just the matter of environmental protection and fight of the third sector against new investments and projects. The High Tatras have gone through the first great fire which revealed firemen’s mistakes, successful trading of calamity wood and a new threat has appeared: Bast- worms. What is your opinion, will they manage?
The process of elimination of calamity consequences is successful. It can be proved by the fact that 86?% calamity wood has been removed. The estimates had stated two years. Moreover, it will have been removed all by the end of May. Unfortunately, the fire proved our worries. In a year, we recorded 30 fires, damages are high. On the other hand, they did not claim any injuries or lived what is more than good news. How to eliminate them? It is a very specific issue connected with opinions that wood should or should not remain in the damages areas. The County Environmental Office makes decisions concerning wood. My opinion on bast- worms is very simple. Those who make decision about whether to preserve non- rescue zone must count on the fact that the number of these worms will increase and the wood will go dry. It is also take responsibility for the future of this region while making decisions. Non-rescue areas have their importance but we must be aware of the fact that a man lived and lives there. This is the crucial point while talking about the size of non-rescue zones.

You have operated in the position of a plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic for Euro implementation for four months. Earlier parliamentary elections are approaching. Will the campaign and a new government influence your work after June 17, 2006?
I do not think that the implementation of Euro will be included in the electoral campaign. The national plan for its implementation has been approved by the government and parliament. All relevant political subjects got their chance to present their opinions. However, a new government can influence and change this process. There is a particular risk that if the new government wanted to spend more as they claimed and they did not meet Maastricht’s criteria for the integration to the European currency union. Every government is responsible for that and for our membership in the monetary union. I believe that the new government will take its responsibility and will continue fulfilling the last four convergent criteria. It means to hold the deficit of the national budget below 3% GHP, the national debt below 60?% GHP, an inflation rate lower than 1.5?% and interest’s rates so that they did not exceed more than 2 per cent of average interest rates of three member states with the lowest inflation rate in the EU.

The National Plan for Implementation of Euro was passed by the Slovak government on 6th July, 2005 by the resolution no.525/ 2005. This document represents the plan of particular steps necessary to realize in the overall economy in the Slovak Republic. Which steps will be realized this year?
The Legislative Committee is preparing a General Law and 300 directives and norms. Some of them will be valid since 2009, some even later. I am also preparing special travel around Slovakia every week and during my lectures, I will present first recommendations to appoint a project manager and the project team in the company and the whole agenda with clear competences. It is important to prepare dual pricing and to elaborate their financial systems. We are also preparing the analysis of consequences on small and medium entrepreneurs in cooperation with the ministry of Economy and influence on trade exchange. It has been shown that Euro implementation led to the increase of trade exchange among states in the Europe zone and there has been no decrease of exchange out of the zone. Positive influence of Euro implementation is estimated as the growth of annual domestic product.

The National Bank of Slovakia and the present Government promised to enter the Euro zone in 2009. How do you classify specialists” discussions concerning the term of Euro implementation and the readiness of the Slovak Republic for this term? Do you think that this topic will end up like the inappropriate discussion about advantages and disadvantages of the integration of Slovakia to the European Union?
It is all based on the integration treaty. In 2004, we obliged to join monetary union too. The approved term is not early or late one, it is just appropriate, being prepared for a long time. Based on the survey, this term is supported by majority of citizens, almost 90 %. The National Bank has done a great deal of work. The consensus reached between it and the government contributed to the fact that the European Commission stated that our project of Euro implementation is the best out of new countries of the Union.

Talking about the term of Euro implementation, you would like to discuss it with the present opposition. Who are the specialists entering the discussion from the parties such as SMER, ĽS- HZDS, Slobodné forum and KSS?
I am going to discuss this matter with economic experts of the political parties but my priority is to prepare the institutions of public and private sectors. I want to focus my attention on academics, churches, regional self-governments, entrepreneurial and consumer organizations. I want everyone to be well informed and prepared. We are in the situation when some institutions are not aware of the seriousness of Euro implementation. Therefore, I am going to organize work conferences scoping on all the sectors- banking and financial sectors, civil service, non-financial sector and protection of consumer, legislation, communication, informatics and statistics.

Slovakia is in the system of exchange rates ERM II. Is July 2008 still valid for implementation of dual pricing in shops as it is stated in the National Plan?
Yes. As long as the new government does not change its opinion or until Maastricht’s criteria are valid.

How much will Slovak entrepreneurs pay for the implementation of Euro?
There is a principle. Everyone pays their costs by themselves. All in all, it will be much better for entrepreneurs. They will have to invest into information and financial systems but they will save indirect costs (for example administration, fees, savings from fixing currency), they will have more funds available for productive activities.

When will you start your explaining campaign?
It has already started.

Have you elaborated information and communication strategy yet?
It is the issue for the next year. In cooperation with the European Commission, we are preparing it for the years 2007 and 2008. We will use experience gained form the countries of the euro zone and Slovenia which will implement Euro on January 1, 2007.

You declared that you want to get closer to Slovak citizens in a human way. What do you mean – humanity?
I want people to understand what consequences they will have to face. I do not want them to be afraid and understand its advantages. It is the continuation of integration process in Europe.

Will the implementation of Euro devalue savings, pensions and life insurances or will it make mortgages and loans cheaper?
The truth is that Euro implementation will have neutral influence on savings or costs. All the money will be recounted according to the exchange rate. Mortgages and loans interests will certainly fall down.

So sceptics place Great Britain as the example of the country which is against Euro implementation…
The implementation of Euro and integration in the Euro zone is the matter of sovereign decision of each state. Britons decided – no Euro as their economy is connected with countries out of the EU, mostly the USA. Slovakia realizes 56% of its trade within the Euro zone. If our neighbours enter the zone, this share will increase up to 85 %.

Euro is criticized in Italy very often. They even claim that implementation of Euro caused damages on Italian economic interests. The North League appeals for lira re-implementation. Is it a contemporary status?
In this case we must distinguish between Euro and economic productivity. Some politicians are trying to avoid real reforms. Euro is not a goal, it is means by which higher standard of living and life of higher quality can be reached. However, it will really depend on economic policy of the state.

In Slovakia many present pensioners remember monetary reform in 1053 which impoverished them and they lost their savings and values of their properties. They understand the implementation of Euro in the similar way…
I understand their worries and that many people do not want to get used to less cash. The basic difference between the 1953 monetary reform and the implementation of Euro is that the monetary reform was a limited money exchange. The implementation of Euro follows the principle of consumer protection, harmless influence on citizens. Only cash and cashless savings will be recounted. Pensions will be recounted up and taxes down by a few tens cents. Citizens will not pay any fees for recounting their accounts and in cash. Simply said, accounting balance to 31 December 2008 will be in Slovak crowns and since January 1, 2009 will be recorded in Euros.

As many items, for example groceries, will only have cents values after recounting. Citizens are worried about the increase of prices. Are their worries appropriate?
According to the survey, 75?% citizens of Slovakia as well as citizens of other new members of the EU are afraid that prices will go up. That is a greatest worry about Euro implementation. On the other hand, 90?% of prices consist of demands and offers in the private sector. After implementation of Euro, unfair increase of prices did not appear in the countries with highly developed competition space. Support of competition space and information campaign can prevent from unreasonable increase of prices. Dual pricing will last eighteen months in Slovakia. It might help citizens to get used to comparing prices. The real price will be known only after the official exchange rate between Euro and crowns has been settled. We will apply another precaution in favour of citizens and costumers, i.e. intensive price monitoring and ethic codex for entrepreneurs which will oblige them not to take advantage of Euro implementing and unfair increase of prices.

There were six work committees established for the implementation of Euro on lower managing levels. For banks and financial sector, civil service, non-financial sector and consumer’s protection, legislation, communication and for informatics and statistics. These committees have to elaborate all the documents for individual issues of the transformation of the economy to euro and ensure the realization of tasks set in both scientific and technical ways. Have the first documents been elaborated yet?
Each committee operates in its field. For instance, there is the analysis of information system in state administration. They are working on the plan of their conversion. A new survey, communication campaign, conception of consumer’s protection, analysis of the influence on entrepreneurship is being prepared. The main task of the legislative committee is the preparation of a General Law this year. Financial sector is dealing wit the preparation of cashless payments.

You are the chairman of the Association for the Support of Entrepreneurship Sme- Union Slovakia with is a member of SME- Union, it is an economic and entrepreneurial association established in 1996 by members of entrepreneurial groups connected with the parties of the European Popular Party (EPP), SME- Union represents the interests of small and medium entrepreneurs, it believes in principles such as freedom and responsibility, it supports principles of market economy. It pursues the support of free entrepreneurship, elimination of bureaucratic obstacles obstructing economic development and protection of economic competition. How do you classify implementation of these goals in Slovakia?
It has been quite successful over the past years. It proves the increase of entrepreneurial subjects due to tax reform and the reform of Labour Law. Development of business are contributes to the increase of employment rate and consequently to improvement of living standard in our country. In terms of bureaucracy and enforcement of law, there is still something to improve.

Are you satisfied with the present reforms of the law frame for small and medium entrepreneurs in Slovakia? Does Slovakia have to improve? In what aspects?
As I have already mentioned, tax reform contributed to the development of small and medium entrepreneurship – by implementing equal tax but also by its simplicity and transparency. Development of venture capital sector, mental possession, simplification of registration of new entrepreneurial subjects and reforms of deduction system should be improved as well.

You also chair the Entrepreneurial Alliance of Slovakia and you are a vice president of the Republic Employers Union. In your common communiqué issued recently, you warned about the possibility of implementation of exception into the Tax system of the Slovak Republic. Why?
Because these exceptions would create a precedent, i.e. a step back. We must protect simplicity and transparency of the overall tax system. Especially it regards count off items in the tax base.

You also participated in elaboration of Manifest of Central and East European industry, initiatives of five industrial and employers” unions- from the Czech, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia, Members of the European Industrial and Employers Union. What motivated you? Unsuccessful five years of Lisbon Strategy?
Lisbon strategy is motivated by good ideas but it is not possible to concentrate on such a number of goals, some are contradictory. Moreover, it is necessary to implement them on the national level- simply said- no one will do us for us. These were also the common motives of the employers unions of Central Europe as we stated in this document. We declared we agreed with the original motive of this strategy. We expressed our support of health entrepreneurial space, reforms, responsible management of public resources and selection of more funds for development at the expanse of consumption. I am glad to meet positive responds of government of Central Europe and European Institutions.

What is the model of free movement of people you pursue in your manifest? Do you support elimination of contemporary restrictions?
Yes. Of course I do. It is not possible so that European market operated with restrictions. Any restrictions of labour force movement obstruct the economic growth.

Proposed Services Directive is one of the key elements supporting economic growth in the EU. Its contents is being discussed at the moment, each member state is trying to purse its protectoral elements. What kind of discussion do your employers unions require? What is good and what is bad about this Directive?
I have already expressed my opinion on free movement of labour force; it is the same in the field of services. So far, we have had common European market only in terms of products and services. I am convinced it will work in the areas of free movement of labour force and services. Any obstructions slow down the development.

The Balearic Islands
The Islands of Balearics are situated not even a hundred kilometres far from the southwest coast of Spain. The Islands are separated from inland by a sea ditch, one and a half kilometres deep. It consists of 151 islands but only four are inhabited. Since 1983, they have had their own autonomy. The leaders of this stone fleet are Majorca and Ibiza, the icons of mass tourism. The name “Balearics” is derived from the Latin word balearii, i.e. a sling- used for throwing stones. The legend says that islanders earned their reputation for producing this weapon at the times when Hannibal was born.

The Upcoming G8 Summit in St. Petersburg: Challenges, Opportunities, and Responsibility
All of us should recognize and admit that “energy egoism” in a modern and highly interdependent world is a road to nowhere. Today, infections account for every third death in the world. According to experts, in the years to come there is a high probability of a new strain of pandemic influenza that would claim millions of lives.

At the beginning of 2006, Russia assumed the G8 Presidency. We understand very well that this requires serious work and implies a great deal of responsibility. It is not the organizational activities alone that lie ahead. More importantly, we will need to discuss and jointly determine the priorities and substantive areas of work for this highly respected forum, which has served as a key mechanism for coordinating approaches to meeting the most significant challenges of world development for more than thirty years.

We have suggested to our partners that we should focus on three serious and pressing issues: global energy security, combating infectious diseases, and education. These three priorities are oriented towards achieving an objective which we hope is clear to all our partners, namely improving the quality of life and living standards of the present and future generations.
The establishment of a reliable and comprehensive system of energy security is clearly one of the strategic goals for the G8 and the world community as a whole. Today, global energy is an important and true engine of social and economic progress. This is why it directly affects the well-being of billions of people around the globe. During the Russian Presidency, not only will we seek to develop fundamental approaches to meeting current challenges in this field but also outline our coordinated policy for the long term.

To find common approaches
Today, the lack of stability in the hydrocarbon markets poses a real threat to global energy supply. In particular, the gap between supply and demand continues to widen. The apparent increase in energy consumption in Asian countries is caused not only by market fluctuations but also by a host of other factors related to policy and security. In order to stabilize the situation in this field, coordinated activities of the entire world community are needed. The new policy of the leading world countries should be based on the understanding that the globalization of the energy sector makes energy security indivisible. Our common future in the area of energy means common responsibilities, risks and benefits. In our view, it is especially important to develop a strategy for achieving global energy security. It should be based on a long-term, reliable and environmentally sustainable energy supply at prices affordable to both the exporting countries and the consumers. In addition to reconciling the interests of stakeholders in the global energy interaction, we will have to identify practical measures aimed at ensuring sustainable access of the world economy to traditional sources of energy, as well as promoting energy-saving programmes and developing alternative energy sources. A balanced and fair energy supply is undoubtedly a pillar of global security at present and in the years to come. We ought to pass on to the future generations a world energy architecture that would help avoid conflicts and counterproductive competition for energy security. This is why it is essential to find common approaches to creating a solid and long-term energy base for our civilization.

Energy would not solve the poverty problem
In this connection, Russia calls on the G8 countries and the international community to focus their efforts on developing innovative technologies. This could serve as an initial step in creating a technological basis for energy supply of mankind in the future, when the energy potential in its present form is exhausted. Global energy security will also benefit from an integrated approach to enhancing energy efficiency of the social and economic development. The G8 made important progress towards elaborating it last year in Gleneagles, including, in particular, the adoption of the Plan of Action aimed at promoting innovation, energy saving and environmental protection. We find it crucially important to engage non-G8 countries, especially fast-growing and industrializing economies, in participating in the G8 initiatives and, particularly, in implementing the document adopted at Gleneagles.
The way most people see it, energy security has mainly to do with the interests of industrially developed countries. It should be kept in mind, however, that almost two billion people in today‘s world do not enjoy modern-day energy services, while many of them lack access to even electricity. Their access to many benefits and advances of civilization has been virtually blocked. Needless to say, energy alone would not solve the poverty problem. At the same time, lack of energy resources throughout different regions significantly hinders economic growth while their unsustainable use may result in an ecological disaster on a global rather than local scale. Lately, experts have been actively discussing ways of increasing energy use in developing countries through a more intensive development of non-conventional energy sources. And this is where assistance rendered by the G8 in developing and introducing alternative power facilities becomes ever so important. Generally speaking, all of us should recognize and admit that “energy egoism” in a modern and highly interdependent world is a road to nowhere. Therefore Russia‘s attitude towards energy security remains clear and unchanged. It is our strong belief that energy redistribution guided wholly by the priorities of a small group of most developed countries does not serve the goals and purposes of global development. We will strive to create an energy security system sensitive to the interests of the whole international community. Basically all it takes is for the mankind to create a balanced potential in order to provide every State with sustainable energy supply, and international cooperation opens all avenues for that.

A strategic action plan to fight bird flu
Throughout its history, the human race finds itself fighting against a genuine threat to its survival – that of the spread of infectious diseases. The progress made might seem encouraging: smallpox was eliminated once and for all throughout the world while fight against poliomyelitis is drawing to a close. Yet our times are also plagued by the outbreaks of both known and new and highly dangerous diseases such as AIDS, exotic viral hemorrhagic fever, microplasma infections, and bird flu. Today, infections account for every third death in the world. According to experts, in the years to come there is a high probability of a new strain of pandemic influenza that would claim millions of lives. Russia would like to suggest the reactivation of efforts in this regard, including the adoption of a strategic action plan of the G8 to fight bird flu and prevent new human flu pandemics. In general, the Group should not and must not stay indifferent to such enormous challenges as combating infectious diseases. The uneven development of health systems as well as unequal financial capabilities and scientific potential required to fight epidemics lead to uneven distribution of global resources allocated to the fight against infections. Marked by a different degree of intensity in different regions, infectious diseases, working as a litmus test, expose social and economic problems, aggravate social inequality and contribute to discrimination. Thus, people infected with HIV and other dangerous diseases find themselves in an alarming situation as they are essentially marginalized and have to cope both with their disease and the difficulties of adapting to a full life in society.

The humanitarian crises are the root cause of many large-scale diseases
There is another fundamental aspect. In recent years, our world has suffered the devastation of earthquakes, floods and tsunamis with increasing frequency. Urbanization, wider transport networks and industrial infrastructure make us much more vulnerable to these emergencies than before. They cause damage not only to the economy and social sphere; their heaviest toll is the outbreaks of infectious diseases, which claim thousands of lives. Therefore we view as another priority the establishment of a global system for natural disaster warning and mitigating their epidemiological consequences. Thought might also be given to the possibility of creating a unified infrastructure capable of responding to the emergence and spread of epidemic in a prompt manner. This infrastructure must include a monitoring, information and scientific methodology exchange system that can promptly respond to emergencies. The so-called humanitarian crises, in particular related to military conflicts, are the root cause of many large-scale diseases. As a result, the threat of effective disease area spread is increased many times over. I am convinced that the G8 will be able to consolidate international efforts in dealing with such emergencies and give a strong impetus to multilateral interaction in this area. Of course, the G8 should continue to promote scientific capacity-building and pool together intellectual and material resources of the world community for the development of new safe vaccines and promising highly sensitive means to diagnose infectious diseases, as well as for the implementation of education and prevention programmes.

„Humanitarian disaster“
Our common tasks in the area of education deserve serious attention. In a post-industrial information society, education becomes a prerequisite for success in the daily life and a major input into the economic development. It is one of the most important elements of a growing social identity, moral values and stronger democracy. Moreover, as technologies improve, labor market favors higher-skilled specialists, and education requirements are constantly increasing as a result. Its goals and content are consequently changing. Today, possessing a certain amount of knowledge and skills is not enough; one has to be ready to constantly upgrade and adapt them to new requirements. Access to global wealth of information dramatically changes education methodologies themselves. Transfer to continuous education is taking place now. Preconditions are in place to form a common education space. Certainly, these trends are gaining momentum, primarily in developing countries. At the same time, many nations and regions still face an acute problem of accessibility of even the basic education. We view this as a true „humanitarian disaster“, as a serious threat to the world community. Widespread illiteracy is a breeding ground for the advocates of inter-civilizational strife, xenophobia and national and religious extremism, and in the final analysis for international terrorist activities. Upgrading education systems In this context, it is important to formulate a wider and more systematic approach to education in both developing countries and the world at large. In particular, if the employment problem is to be successfully resolved, the notion of education must, as it seems, include not only general education but also vocational and technical training encompassing all levels of education, from basic to higher one. In the conditions of growing mobility of world population and steady increase in migration, the problem of integration into a different cultural environment acquires special importance. Obviously, it is education that makes possible mutual social adaptation of various cultural, ethnic and confessional groups. Hence, special attention should be paid to upgrading education systems for the attainment of these goals both in developed and developing countries. Many developing countries experience serious difficulties with introducing advanced education methods and information technologies. In this respect, it is necessary to make more efficient use of the most advanced resources, including the Internet and other newest means of information and knowledge distribution, in the field of education. A fruitful debate on this subject took place last November in Tunisia during the second stage of the World Summit on Information Society; we have been carefully reviewing the Summit outcomes and intend to use them. Russia stands ready to assist in mobilizing the world community‘s efforts aimed at raising the quality and compatibility of requirements to professional education as a key condition for the use and propagation of innovations. All stakeholders in global economic development and the international labor market in general are interested in this. The responsiveness of educational institutions to the demands of high-tech sectors is a necessary precondition for the competitiveness of national economies.

The End of the World called Ushuaia
The furthest-east highway of the world terminates there. It leads up to the capital city – Buenos Aires, it is not as far as 3200 kilometres. There is a safe port and the airport from which you can fly to a Chilean town of Punta Arenas where Martin Kukučín, a Slovak writer, lived together with Croatian emigrants.

Ushuaia is a town situated in the furthest east point of our planet. That is why it is called the End of the World. It spreads on the banks of Land of Fire at the bottom of Patagonia underneath the sharp peaks and icebergs dramatically rising from the sea. Anton Fiala, a reporter and explorer, visited these places while travelling across South America. He has just celebrated his fiftieth birthday and has also organized the same number of individual exhibitions of photographs having been taken during his journeys across countries of all the continents. He is an author of the whole series of pictorial publications and Ushuaia will not be missed in his book about his travels in Latin America, which is being prepared.

If you open any guide book about Argentina, you will learn that Ushuaia attracts visitors even before entering the town. From the birds” view, the peaks, twinkling icebergs, lakes and shaped coastline look like from a distant planet. In terms of tourism, Ushuaia is simply in. You will reach the skiing resort by bus in fifteen minutes (from the city centre). Every day, huge cruising ships set off towards Antarctica; many others head towards the islands of penguins or to watch whales from the decks… These are just a few examples which attract visitors from other continents.

A Teacher in the Village - the Only Specimen
A Slovak small-class school helps gypsy children to learn Slovak language, hygiene and morality in Abranovice. Thus they get among ordinary children where it is normal to wash hands after using a toilet, before and after meal. However, Slovak parents will decide whether this school will continuously change into another gypsy school.

There are about 800 small-class schools in Slovakia. Thirty six of them are in Prešov County. One of them is situated in the village of Abranovice which was founded by a merchant Abraham who built the first house around the well. Why is this village so extraordinary? It might be Raslav’s magic stone hidden in Slanské vrchy. It is said it heals skin diseases and fulfils young women’s desire to get married…Moreover, it might be an authentic example and picture of a poor and neglected Slovak country, which has been taken away its soul and the sense of existence. Its description will take you back to the period before the year 1989 when everything, apart from nature, used to be grey, gloomy, mournful, damaged and being deceived by cheap life and wealth of the real socialism. Those who did not mind it do not mind it these days too. Including schools or mayor’s position. People who stayed there have become old. Their children and grandchildren have left this village. After many years, capitalism has not arrived yet and those who remained are still waiting for better times and God’s salvation.

A reader of our magazine invited me to this small village with only 550 inhabitants. He sent me a message and asked me to come and see how his wife and he teach between 6- and- 10 olds in a small-class school there. It is one of the last small-class schools where Slovak and gypsy children are taught together. Only Slovak children used to learn there. Nowadays, the school has only 36 pupils, just 15 are Slovak. Until when? Perhaps two or three years more. Maybe longer until Slovak parents decide to enrol their children at big state and church schools in nearby Prešov and Solivar situated only a few kilometres from Abranovice. There are just gypsy schools in the surrounding villages. Although Slovak language is taught there, gypsy assistants help children and translate everything into their language so that they could understand their teachers.
It is unbelievable, isn’t it?

Howe-Leather Covers
At last, an Australian investor arrived in Slovakia. They did not invest only in technologies for cutting various shapes made of cow skin but also in employees working with values worth a few millions.

Did you know that skin from five or six cows is needed to produce luxurious leather seat covers for and Rovers, Audis, Nissans, Fords, Toyotas, Hondas, Subaru, Mazda or BMWs? Neither did I. Unless I visited the only European plant of the Australian company Howe and Co Pty, Ltd. The plant is based in Košice, in Eastern Slovakia. Between 2 500 and 2800 m2 of high quality leather are processed there every day. Almost 20 000 various components are produced from this leather. Other producers will sew seat and head rest covers. For better imagination- every day the plant processes leather made of skins from 700 to 800 cows and their value exceeds millions of Slovak crowns.

These skins are imported to Košice from Australia by boats or planes from two plants of Howe Leather company- in Rosedale and Thomastown where raw skins are processed and dyed. Why from Australia and not from Slovakia and Hungary? “In Australia, there are about 5 million cows. Neither Slovakia nor other European countries have so many cows and they will never have. In Slovakia, there are herds consisting of about two or three hundred cows, there are a few more in Hungary,“ says Richard Duda, a CEO of Howe Leather Plant in Košice.

The Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia is illegitimate (first part)
What court will consider the criminality of aerial bombardment by U.S. aircraft of defenseless civilians, their housing, water systems, power plants, factories, office buildings, schools, hospitals, which take thousands of lives directly and causes billions of dollars of property damages in Belgrade, Nis, Novi Sad and scores of other cities, towns and villages? What follows is the statement that president Milosevic was not allowed to read when he appeared, August 30, 2001 before the „tribunal“ in the Hague.

There are three fatal legal flaws in the so called International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Each has disastrous consequences for the human quest for peace, the rule of law, democracy, truth and justice. The Charter of the United nations does not empowr the security council to create a criminal court. The U.N. Security Council has seized power it does not possess, corrupting the Charter of the United Nations, placing itself above the law and threatening „We Peoples of the United Nations“ with a lawless future in which a superpower employs the scourge of war to have its way.

Just kidding! It’s the First of April?
A brief review on history of the day during which we behave rather silly as if we wanted to behave like 364 days of the year. In 1995, a demonstration was held on Red Square near the mausoleum. Hundreds of Russian protested after they had learned the information that mummified V. I. Lenin’s body had been sold to Disney Corporation. In 1994, the BBC Radio 4, in its program “Today” announced that instead of traditional “God Save the Queen” a new British hymn will be “Euro hymn” sung in German based on Beethoven’s music.

However, April is a very unpredictable month. For example the weather, it is so changeable. Sometimes, we are so fascinated by this month that we just say- April. Nevertheless, it was not enough and people made up some other complications. Pupils change classrooms and confuse their teachers, we have unusual phone calls, we keep thinking how to trick someone and do not let pull our leg. Finally, we are so confused that we are unable to distinguish what is real and what is not. If we wanted to solve this question, we would have to organize an international scientific conference.

Why the first of April? The answer is very easy. A new year used to start on April 1; just Gregorian reforms changed it and set the first of January the beginning of the year. First, the French supported this reform. It was during the reign Carl IX (1550- 1564). They were followed by Spaniards and Portuguese. Russians joined after the socialistic revolution and Romanians and Yugoslavians were the last. The first of April is a kind of a break point day; it is not just in calendar but also in people’s thinking. The fact is that even ancient Romans celebrated the day called Festival Hilaria or the Roman Laughing Day on the 25th March dedicated to god Atis. They used to behave very strangely on that day. Or not? What did Mark Twain say? On the first of April, we behave as if we wanted to behave for other 364 days in a year.

Today and right now
I was really delighted when Martin Ťapák offered me a role in his film Pacho, Highwayman from Hybe. I think the scene where Jožko Kronér and I are stepping on cabbage in a barrel is very original and unforgettable. It is a demonstration of disappearing traditions; “claims Eva Máziková, a singer.

She had always wanted to sing. She was only three years old when she recorded her first LP with Slovak folk songs. When PKO Bratislava announced the competition “Talent Night” in 1967, she took part and she won, out of 300 contestants. Later, she won the state competition in Prague, and then she won the competition “Golden Camera”. She was awarded Silver (1971) and Gold (1972 ) Lira. She has also won Rose of Detva or many other international competitions held in Belgium, Tokyo and polish Sopoty. She has had many performances with Braňo and Vlado’s Hronec. Although she has been living in Germany for 30 years, she often visits Slovakia. She introduced a very popular TV show called “Šlagerparáda”; she has recorded a CD “Návraty” and “Iná žena”. She has been performing on a New Scene for four years in a musical “Klietka bláznov”. Eva Máziková (1949), a singer, actress, moderator and entrepreneur.

You are famous for your temperament, dynamics, energy and optimism. You are its symbol. What helps you to be so lively? Positive thinking, optimism, loves and goodness – it is all reflected in man’s behaviour. Of course, it works the other way round too. People around you watch you walking, moving, your responds. It does not work on the principle when one says: “I will be optimist and full of energy. “I have been like that since my childhood. Partially, I have inherited it from my parents, but I have learnt many things myself. For example, how to adjust particular situations and face many obstructions caused by my own ambitions.
After I had celebrated my 50th birthday, I said to myself: “It is just the beginning of the second part of my life. As long as I have managed it by now, I will be able to carry on. My child is independent, has finished school, so I can really enjoy my life. I do my exercises regularly, I eat healthy and my thinking is very positive. When I come across a problem, I try to solve it immediately. I do not put off anything for later. I do it today and right now. Well, I have been successful so far.

Personalities of Slovak Jazz Scene
Their own compositions and jazz standards

Young musicians like to catch jazz bacilli… They listen a lot and enjoy good music. They have their idols, modern musicians. We are living in very hectic times, musicians want to move forward very fast and they want to reach a great effect. However, it is not possible without small details; “says Dušan Húščava, a clarinettist, saxophonist, flutist, composer and arranger.

My father taught me to like music. He loved music and together with my mother they enjoyed opera. At that time we were stuck to the radio listening to opera arias and we often went to the opera house. My father played the violin and wanted to do so. That is why I began attending violin classes. However, I did not like this instrument and I stopped playing it. I really liked the piano, and wind instruments. First, I heard brass band at the funeral in Lamač. Its tune attracted me so much. I was marching, following the musicians and I was really fascinated by this unknown huge instrument colourful in sounds and all the instruments were in such harmony.

Martin Augustín (Born 25 November, 2006)
He graduated from Secondary School of Applied Art in Bratislava. He attended Faculty of Applied Art in Prague where he graduated from the Department of Graphic Design and Posters (Professor Z. Ziegler). During his studies, he also took a course of book illustrations at Professor J. Šalamoun. He stayed at College of Graphic Design in Lucerne in Switzerland. He participated in many individual and group exhibitions held in Slovakia as well as abroad. He has been awarded a special prize for illustration at Biennale of Illustrations in Teheran and the prize for the most beautiful book of the year. At present, having been inspired by his stays in France, he deals with free style works, drawings, and collages. His latest collection of drawings called “Parisians” will be presented during the exhibition in the Gallery Zelený Dvor in Bratislava at the end of March this year. This exhibition will also include the works of his mother Božena Augustínová and brother Andrej.

Slovaks have beaten French
Slovak footballers won in Paris on the day of a premiere of the controversial American horror film called Hostel. This defeat of the French made Slovaks feel better after their performance against self-confident Spaniards who beat Slovakia at the World Cup qualification.

While describing a sport event one can sometimes come up to things that have nothing to do with sports. In the north from Paris, there is a small town of Saint Denis. It was named after the first Parisian bishop St. Denis who was beheaded by Romans in the third century. The legend says that he was executed together with his friends on Montmarter -the Mount of Martyrs. After the execution, St Denis took his head into his hands and walked to the north. Then he fell to the ground where a well-known church was built- Basilique Sain Denis.

Only a few kilometres far from this place, there is a “football temple”, State de France. Compared to the basilica, the stadium for 75 thousand people is the symbol of modernism. Finally, we have just got to the historical association. The stadium is the place where Slovak football representation beheaded French footballers.


Dimenzie No.3/2021Russian Assessment of Ukraine
Via Russia further to Asia
The port on the river Krka
Openness despite the past
Tragic balance,,Storms“
The right-wing circus dominated Slovakia
Let's build a common "Great Wall of Immunity"
The cult Rákoci manor house
Accession of Beijing in the Middle East
,, Little Verdun...Read more