December 2009

Crisis in the Slovak right still continues
Mr Orbán is used to threaten others
Who is Ing. Béla Bugár?
Let’s tell the truth
Slovakia has to increase food production
Who set up the value of the Slovak coefficient?
Did you manage to stabilize the situation in the milk market?
How many farmers cam manage it in Slovakia, though?
Will you meet at the chimney?
Common Project Led by Global Group
Godfather
Residence
Cassovar Business Centre
Retail as Shopping Galleria
Welcome to 2025!
The Global Power Shift
The USA is passing a baton to G-20
The Rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China
No Sanctions on Iran
Strikingly disappointing response to the new military troops in Afghanistan
Not Chicago but Rio de Janeiro picked for the 2016 Summer Olympics
On Being an Ordinary Country
Inspirations of His Own Being

Crisis in the Slovak right still continues
It seems that unification of all oppositional parties against the only opponent is being prepared again. It can be proved by media attacks in Slovak dailies which began fighting against Robert Fico and his government and by political declarations of hopeless leaders of oppositional parties. However, what is quite strange that the electronic media (mainly television) have not shown an active approach yet. As if there was a powerful domestic or foreign sponsor having ordered to attack and from the ambuscade, he sent his political but poorly sponsored infantry to the last phase of pre- election fights. It might be their last battle as they remind of gladiators who have to prove their political durability and ability to do whatever told in order to survive as they cannot do anything but politicizing. Those more diligent of them who they were approached by the repetition and atmosphere of the era when so-called anti- Mečiar coalition ruled the country for eight years and later moralizing right with former communists and with ethnical and wide- range Hungarians. At the time, the right- winged were obliged to “get united” with everyone against the regime of ĽS- HZDS, in Austria and after the intervention from Brussels, and now they have to be united against the regime of SMER-SD so that they offered Slovakia new and different alternative. Their worries about the further “red development” in the state, which has been transformed into a social republic for over past four years and has had incredible support, are stronger than the ability of their inner self- reflection without which it is not possible to define trustworthy “right or central - right agenda” for Slovak voters. The eras of unlimited administration directed and managed by the global market or international capital, coming from the USA and the EU, are over, “generous” privatization as well. There is nothing to be sold or given away, citizens are not satisfied with well- trained phrases and romantic right-winged theories, the era of threatening and blackmailing of citizens that if they do not vote these or those, they will not integrate in the EU and NATO has passed away, too. At present, Slovak voters are not keen to listen to such speeches. Eventually, it is high time to create and get out of darkness.
Slovakia faces new challenges and a new reality in the European Union. Slovakia is unable to renew its food and energetic self- sufficiency, it is economically dependent on the EU market, and it still imports energetic sources mainly from the Russian Federation. Slovakia has its suffering middle classes, poor small and medium entrepreneurs. Export is provided by workshops of the foreign companies that have many advantages in taxation and are not interested in Slovak brains and Slovak technologies. On the other hand, smaller production firms have no capital for its development, they do not know what to produce and even though they do, they struggle as they have nowhere to sell their goods. And thus they would rather wait for orders from abroad and for work in wages. And what is the motivation for new entrepreneurs so that they established their production plants and did not become just sellers in the market and traders of insurance or cosmetics like?
Slovak farmers have no problems with bad weather conditions but food processing companies and low purchasing prices; they are not under the pressure caused by debts but chain shops and import of cheap foodstuffs but of a very poor quality. The development of Slovak regions is not slowed down by lack of regional politicians and insufficient infrastructure but cynical centralism of Bratislava and unimplemented and unfinished reform of public and regional self- administration. Having no wider competences, the regions will remain weak and inefficient. Education and schools suffer from the lack of finances as well as the contents of the reform that does not motivate students towards science and technology. There is absence of interconnection between the school and practice. Building a knowledge - based society is not blocked by low subsidies but personalities that are unable to get over their fear and subsidized comfort so that they told the nation, government and clerks the truth about Slovak universities, public and private schools of higher education.
How far has Slovak society gone for over past 20 years as it is still being ruled by more uneducated than educated politicians and teams of clerks? The basic question must sound as following: do I feel well like a citizen of this state? Do I feel that the state likes me, praises me for my work, for the fact that I employ people, pay taxes, bring up well- behaved children? And is it praised? What respect and esteem am I shown by constitutional officers of the state and clerks? Or does the state bother me with stupid laws and regulations or for example traffic wardens for speeding on busy roads in bad condition? Who is actually paid by our citizens and what is paid from their taxes? How do they supervise that and who do they find responsible? And where, in the ballot boxes or at offices, or in pubs, gardens or on yachts?
What kinds of answers does our right or liberal oppositional parties and groups offer to new challenges? And who is like a criminal shouting a well-known saying. “Catch the criminal!” Leaders who are unable to cooperate with anyone and think that their opinions are the best ones? Or moralists who claim to drink water and they drink wine themselves? Misfortune of Slovak and international right- winged politics is its disability to get united at least in the most essential issues. International right and liberals would like to rule national ones; they split into Christian, civil, conservative and “regular” and Hungarian democrats. Their mouths are full talks about democracy and values but they are unable to develop at least humanistic tradition in the nation and to implement courtesy and gestures into their mutual relations. And it will be rather interesting to observe how Róbert Fico, a significant personality of the left- winged politics and Slovak political scene, will, indirectly, help them to get united, neutralize them and finally will defeat them. If there was an adequate and constructive counterpart among right, but there is no one so far as “blue camp” has not been able to generate a new significant and influential and creative political personality (We have has enough of parrots always saying the same things!), Fico would be worried about his preferences and about the structure of a new government a bit more. Six months before the election to the Slovak parliament, the right has the only goal: to undermine Fico´s position and weaken his high preferences so that he had no political party to form a coalition with. Nevertheless, the agenda of the right is poor, unclear, and demagogical and the worst of all is that apart from criticism and pointing at particular cases, it cannot support its ideology and its theories they had been pursing in Slovakia between the years 1998 and 2006.
Róbert Matejovič,
editor in chief


Mr Orbán is used to threaten others
We have to convince Slovaks that we are the civil party which, of course, defends the interests of minorities but also interests of majority so that there was no tension and no reasons for Slovak- Hungarian tension,” claims Béla Bugár, the chairman of the party MOST-HÍD and the member of the Slovak Parliament.
 
Róbert Matejovic
Photo: Jozef Veselý
 
Since 11 July 2009, a new civil political party, MOST- HÍD, has been operating on the Slovak political scene. Its twelve- member board consists of six former members of the SMK (Strana maďarskej koalície- the Party of Hungarian Coalition), two vice- chairmen (out of four) are Slovak. Their main ideological principles are clearly defined by words like cooperation, frankness, politeness, responsibility and trust. The party intends to be the party of those who would like to live in peace and safety, in mutual trust, tolerance and understanding. The main goals of the party are: creating and maintaining conditions for comparable growth of all regions in Slovakia and elaborating the plan in order to help the least developed regions and communities.
 
Mr Bugár, your party would like to overcome the crisis of the trust in politics and declares a new style of politics that is supposed to improve the current relations in Slovakia. What do you mean by that?
How did the crisis come upon the politics? I have always claimed that there is no way a politician promised something that is impossible to do. If he believes in what he is saying and has particular knowledge in the field of economy according to which he knows what can be fulfilled under particular conditions, then he can present it in front of citizens. But making a promise in advance without knowing what is possible and what mustn’t be done, it definitely does not belong to serious politics. Yet, even in the coalition there might be the situation when a serious and respected politician does not obtain any support for his promises that might be carried out because the coalition could have other priorities.
On the one hand, people found out that some politicians had promised the moon and did not keep a single one, later realized that there were also politicians who thought that politics was not a civil service to their citizens who had voted them, just the way leading to their own profit. And I would add one more terrible experience. If we have a closer look at corruption scandals in Slovakia, i.e. how they usually ended up, no wonder, citizens are apathetic and fed up. On the one hand, we see how someone is caught while having taken a bribe (an envelope with money inside). Later on, when we expect a fair verdict of our justice, we are surprised as an accused person is released due to the lack of evidence. However, on the other hand we have heard about some cases when a doctor was caught when taking a bribe. His license is cancelled immediately or at least he loses his position, is made redundant or relocated to another working place. Neither is good and people really mind that. Nevertheless, we have to believe that our courts are independent and act with a great deal of responsibility. However, if people see someone released due to the lack of evidence, then, logically, they say it does not matter what we do since those powerful ones will do what they want anyway. And that is why there is a crisis of trust.
 
You have been in politics for almost 20 years. It is exactly the same time as the creation and development of democracy in Slovakia lasts. Regarding what you have just said, isn’t it more appropriate to talk about the renewal of trust in communal and regional politicians as well? Predominantly, their morality and ethics, apart from some exceptions, of course, cause deep crisis, established a particular system of relations and political practice that often resulted not in serving the citizen, towns, regions or the state but in disgrace and mistrust of citizens and in a low number of people who voted. Citizens are often in the position of laboratory rats and naïve voters. Has politics turned into business? What do you think of that?
So far, people have not been able to see differences among communal, regional and state politicians. I will allow myself to claim that it will take a longer time to do so. What can politicians do? Show and prove their promises can come true. We propose anti- corruption regulations we would like to implement. We are also talking about the fact that economic goals we propose are the real ones; that we do not promise, for example, decreasing the equal tax as we know the conditions are not suitable for that yet. We claim that Slovakia is able to put less pressure on entrepreneurs during the economic crisis and recession- i.e. make deductions easier, simpler and lower. The voter will either start comparing promises or there will be others in the Slovak politics that will misuse the conjuncture of several popular topics. We do not want to be a disposable, one- use party.
 
Why don ´t you, for example, require passing the law on the mandatory participation in the election? Wouldn’t such a law help renew the trust of citizens in politics and politicians and thus increase the pressure on promises and work of all, i.e. clerk sand officials paid from all tax payers´ money?
I do not think that the method of legitimization of democracy that has been established in Slovakia over the past years is the right and reasonable. We cannot accept, though, that 20% voters are enough for our state, regional or communal politics. The solution is not based on forcing citizens to vote, it would be considered as the dictates. Democracy is about offering and giving opportunities citizens might take or not. Who is supposed to carry out any changes? Who can change things? Just citizens in the election.
 
Some states of the EU have already passed and implemented the law on mandatory participation in the election. For example in Greece, Belgium and Luxembourg where no one has ever had any doubts about their democracies. In my opinion, an aversion of Slovak citizens to apply their right to vote suits majority of Slovak politicians and political parties. Even they rely on it. If it were not the truth, they would solve this issue more radically…
Still, due to our past era of socialism and mandatory participation in the election, it is not possible to do so in our country. Or we should have implemented it by law right from the beginning of developing our democracy. But I think that mandatory participation would mostly help the oppositional parties.
 
What played the most important role when establishing a new party? Dissatisfaction with the SNS agenda or with the development of the SMK after Pál Csáky had been appointed its chairman or the attempts to get liberal Hungarians in the Slovak government after the election in Slovakia?
Both. Five months ago, we left the SMK, which has been losing its supporters among voters since April 2007. The party and its leader began pursuing such a kind of politics that eliminated any rather critical opinions in the party. For example, the issue of Beneš’s Decrees. The leaders led by Mr Csáky and Mr Duray started pursuing the cancellation of them in public without having explained which of them were supposed to cancelled and why. They acted thoughtlessly without informing the Board and the Republic Council of the Party. Moreover, they opened that topic at a very inappropriate time. Apparently, reactions and attacks from the SNS (Slovenská národná strana - the Slovak National Party) occurred on the scene immediately. SDKÚ-DS (Slovenská demokratická a kresťanská únia - Demokratická strana - the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union - Democratic Party) and KDH (Kresťansko - demokratické hnutie - The Christian Democratic Movement )The interrupted their relationships with the SMK and what was the result like? Right after the parliament passed the resolution that Beneš’s Decrees would never be opened again. We (Bugár’s and his group) have always claimed that if we want to have a party representing the minorities, we must be able to cooperate with the majority, i.e. with the Slovak parties in terms of minority issues.
However, for me, personally, there was a much more crucial moment for the establishment of a new political party - the events in Slovak- Hungarian relations and their further development. These relations got even worse just before the presidential election in Slovakia and during the campaign. Mrs Radičova and I visited Komárno so that we demonstrated, in front of the border bridge, how we, reasonable Slovak and Hungarian citizens can live in peace and we do not need Slovak or Hungarian radicals, either. It was at the same time when my daughter had to face a verbal attack, some hooligans were shouting at her: ”Hey, you, Hungarian?” while she was talking Hungarian on the phone… The weirdest thing is that it happened in Šamorín, where 70% of people are of the Hungarian nationality. Then, I said to myself I would have regretted not having done anything at the time I would have been supposed to.
When we were establishing our party, one of its co - establishers, Mr Pašegič from Bosnia and Herzegovina, told us a story. Twenty years ago his friends warned him that the tension between Croatians and Serbians, Serbians and Albanians could turn into a bigger conflict; however, he did not believe them and called them fools. Three years later, a day before a massacre in Srebrenica, he ran away with his family and he has been living in Slovakia since then, i.e. for seventeen years. And now he says he is a stupid man as he could have done anything at the time but he did not.
 
Does your political party want to be a kind of instruction how to avoid possible Slovak- Hungarian tension?
We would like to be a party of cooperation. We have to convince mostly Slovaks that the civil party that, of course, defends the interests of minorities also defends the majority as it attempts to eliminate any tension and conditions for this tension. It is our common and mutual interest.
 
According to your agenda, you belong to central- right parties- you are closer to SDKÚ- DS than to SMER- SD. Who do you get on better- with Mr Dzurinda or with Mr Fico?
Certainly, with Mr Dzurinda. We had been in the coalition for eight years. As Mr Dzurinda stated I was not an easy partner but I personally think that he was not an easy partner, either. Whatever we had agreed on and implemented in the agenda regarding our interests, we had to force it to happen.
We are a right - winged party but the right must also have its sense of solidarity, for example, social. We have to learn from what we spoilt before when we were in the government. For example, the implementation of Kaník´ amendments. We were unable to estimate the influence of laws on people who needed social state welfare, i.e. disabled citizens and retired invalids.
 
At the time, you had an image of a liberal and for Slovaks you were an acceptable Hungarian. As the chairman of the SMK, you tried to reach the consensus but the more radical wing had always undermined your attempts. The further development could prove that. Why do you reject radicalism?
I have always tried to push radicalism away as I think it will not solve our problems. We will solve them only in cooperation with Slovaks. The SMK has always been talking about the fact that no Slovak political party is democratic enough to support the solutions to the problems of the Hungarian minority. On the other hand, we would not have had a university in Komárno. It means that the standard democracy should never involve radicalism.
 
Do you agree with the thesis that the south of Slovakia is just the matter of the SMK? Personally, I do not understand why Slovak political parties obstructed the south of Slovakia to the Nitra Region and its politics does not appeal to Slovak, Hungarian or Romany citizens there…
South Slovakia will be involved in its agenda not only by one political party but by two unless the Slovak parties find some space for minorities in their agenda. We are aware of the fact that if minority issues have to be solved, our colleagues will have to feel and think like the minority whether they are Hungarians, Ruthenians, Romany people or the others, their way of national life in which three main areas domain - culture, education and use of mother tongue, These three attributes define and determine the possible development of the identity of each minority. If the Slovak majority and Slovak political parties do not want to present and help to develop it, they will never get the support of voters who are sensitive about their nation.
 
It is said that the establishment of your party was just the obedience to the order so as to Mr Fico was able to form his second government without the SNS and with ĽS- HZDS. You are allegedly financed by the people closely cooperating with SMER-SD.
It is rubbish.
 
Will you exclude the possible future cooperation of your party with social democrats although your commentaries on some solutions to the economic crisis are rather critical…?
We were deeply offended by the way the three highest constitutional representatives of our state celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. I felt more offended than by some excesses like the “notice - board tender” or unprofitable sales of emissions.
 
What happened?
The attempt to eliminate the importance of the events that happened in November 1989 and what has been done since the revolution when the former regime used to arrest people for their opinions. I had a bad point as my uncle ran away from the forced labour in the work camp in the 1950s as he had wanted to be a priest. The present government minimizes almost everything from the era of socialism as if someone had been re - writing the history of Slovakia, they drain brains and let arrogance and corruption rule the country. Mr Slota confessed for the television documentary that he would be a hypocritical person if he said that there is no corruption in the state. However, it is sad that nothing has happened so far and the whole system is approaching, slowly but surely, to collapse. It is much worse than the theft of million Euros. It is a dangerous process and a dangerous way which we mustn’t continue going along.
 
Don’t you exaggerate? This critic does not mean anything to younger generation and has no impact on the public opinions, people are not worried, and on the contrary, SMER- SD has had high preferences for a long time…
Yes, because people think that nothing will change anyway. Even though they showed their disagreement. It is the main issue.
 
In spite of the fact that the present opposition considers SMER- SD the most responsible for all “negative”, you do not talk about the plans to enter the coalition with Mr Fico after the election that will be held next year. Is it a contest for the coalitional potential?
Apart from us, also KDH and SMK do not refuse the cooperation with the party SMER - SD, they do not say why yes and why no, or with whom. Only Mr Dzurinda claims that SDKÚ - DS will not enter the coalition with Mr Fico. But let me remind you who said in 2006 that he would have never joined the coalition with ĽS - HZDS and straight after the election gave that party an offer to create the four- member coalition that would have been better, in my opinion, than a present three- member coalition.
I think this is the easiest way to say that MOST - HÍD will never create the coalition with SMER -  SD. But will anything be solved? Unfortunately, the preferences of this party show that Mr Fico will win the next election easily. However, the question is whether he will be able to find one or two partners when handing our cards. Let’s imagine what will happen if each political party that has got to the parliament will refuse the cooperation with SMER - SD. What will be better and more responsible for Slovakia? To push Mr Fico into the situation so that he chose the same coalitional partners again? We might experience the times when we will be accused of causing the situation that SMER - SD was forced to pick up the SNS for the government.
 
Who is Ing. Béla Bugár?
He was born on the July 7, 1958 in Bratislava. He graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Slovak Technical University. Between the years 1991 and 1998 he was the chairman of the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement; in the years 1998 and 2007 he was the chairman of the Party of Hungarian Coalition. In 1998 - 2006, he was the deputy at the Slovak Parliament. During this electoral period, he is the member of the Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Security. He established a new political party on June 7, 2009. He is the mot popular Hungarian politician in Slovakia. In the 2006 election to the parliament, he gained almost 180,000 preferential votes.


Let’s tell the truth
Slovakia has to increase food production
“We have become the producers of the worst paid and the simplest commodities. One created working place in the agriculture is closely tight to other three or four jobs. Each new processing and breeding operation can passively decrease the trade balance,“ said Vladimir Chovan, the Ministry of the Agriculture
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: Jozef Veselý
 
The Slovak agriculture has not managed to stop the decrease of domestic production for almost twenty years. Credit balance of trade has been increasing gradually every year. We spoke to Ing. Vladimír Chovan (1963), the Minister of the Agriculture (for ĽS- HZDS) and the former chairman of the Slovak Agricultural and Food Processing Chamber about the situation whether it is possible to put a stop to this crisis.
 
Mr Chovan, even though you have been holding your post for three months only. What is the state of the Slovak agriculture?
I can assess our resort according to the amount which has been made and sold. If we take a closer look at the trade balance, we cannot be satisfied. Credit balance grew by 588.8 million Euros (17.39 billion SKK) from January to August 2009, i.e. by 1.9 % having compared to the same period in the year 2008. It is a continuous process. We produce less and we import more food from abroad. However, this situation has already lasted for twenty years. Long time ago, we used to produce two billion litres of milk every year, at present the production has fallen down to a billion. We used to export food stuffs to the entire the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance market, at present, we hold one of the bottom positions in the EU in terms of the amount of animal production, growing crops and production of food commodities. Each Slovak government has always dealt with resorts that bring more money to the national budget. We ask to get a billion from the budget; however, the government asks what they support when the field of food stuffs we can produce at home, the credit balance has been growing continuously. I am talking about milk and dairy products, meat and meat products (including goose, of which 95% is imported from abroad), cereal, oil plants, vegetables and fruit grown in the mild climate. We have to search for the way how to stop the fall so that the balance did not deepen and we started to go up slowly. It is our long-term goal.
 
Farmers did not complain about bad harvest, bad season. What makes you say that it seems we cannot increase export of cereal and feed for animals?
Together with the Slovak Union of Feed Producers and Storages, we have just been solving the issue how much unsold cereal and crops do we have at storage places. They will have to be exported as the cheapest commodities. And as the transportation costs reach between 25 and 30 Euro per ton to the nearest sea port, Slovak farmers will not even get an average European price. If they succeed in placing cereal and food for animal place in the German market, where they will not sell is for a higher price, but on the contrary, they will get 30 Euro less (transport costs) compared to German farmers. Slovak farmers will at least be pleased to place them there. We changed from the food stuff producers to the producers of the worst paid foodstuff. We lost the added value, employment. The entire resort is in very bed conditions. It is tragedy which is even worsened by unbalanced common agricultural policy of the European Union.
 
What do you mean?
Let’s have a look, for example, at the reform in the field of milk production. Although the reform began, the quota system for the milk production is valid from the year 2015. And the result? The whole EU produced one hundredth milk more that the compared to the same period last year but there are countries that rapidly decreased production gain. Within the EU, Bulgaria is on the 27th place, it decrease milk production by 25 per cent. Slovakia holds the 26th place with a decrease by almost 11 per cent. And there are states like for example Germany, Holland, France, Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland that increased milk production. Within a year, we have decreased milk production by 200 million litres and slaughtered cows and the states mentioned above increase their production. Why? Because the entire agricultural policy and the system of subsidies is set like this. And it is not only about the money. Slovakia was given less and that is why we were not competitive in prices, Austrians get much more. Let me mention another example- potatoes. As the Austrian farmer gets much higher subsidy for their growing, they will export and sell in Slovakia. Slovak farmers do not grow potatoes that are more expensive than Austrians but there is a big difference in subsidies. The Austrian farmer will get one or two cents more and that is why they can offer cheaper potatoes. All in all, if all these differences reflect in all the commodities, it results in the decline of the overall agricultural production in Slovakia.             
 
Is it possible to stop the fall of production in Slovakia? Why are farmers always complaining about insufficient help provided by our state and why are they not able to compete the prices of imported goods?
Subsidy conditions are the essential ones and they had been set up before the integration of Slovakia in the European Union. They are set up in a very strange way. This year, Slovakia has been given 60% of direct payments from the EU. The rest as a national payment must be assured by the government through the national budget if it has free funds. However, this year we acquired 30 per cent. In 2010, it will be 70% from the EU and 20% from the national budget. We will be given a hundred per cent from the EU in the year 2013. And if we compare our 100%, for example, with German, we will find out that German farmers at their level will receive, counting on so-called cereal equivalent up to 150% subsidies per a hectare compared to Slovak farmers. Slovak cereal equivalent is 4.8 and German is 6. Subsidy is counted as following- this coefficient is multiplied by the value of the subsidy per a hectare. If the subsidy is 25 Euro, a Slovak farmer will gat more than 100 Euro, German up to 150 Euro.   
 
Who set up the value of the Slovak coefficient?
The European Union, just before the integration of Slovakia in the European Union within the pre-integration negotiations. It was defined based on the historical principle having taken a referential period of the year 1995- 1999 in production into consideration. At the time the production was decreasing rapidly due to bad and unsystematic reform which caused the decline and fall of many working farms.
 
Could another and more objective period have been chosen instead?
No. Unfortunately, it was equally set for all integrating states; however, a lot depended on cleverness of each state. Each state had an opportunity to give reasons for its matters. It was the fault of a Slovak team and the main negotiator. We wanted to integrate in the EU so much that we forgot to look at the price we had to pay to integrate. We should not have done it like that. Nevertheless, it is over.
 
Let’s get back to your tasks- to stop the fall of production, for example milk. What are your tools and competences? What can you influence?
 First of all, our ministry has to get back to the original and similar tasks which have other ministers in the world. It means that we have to begin looking after our resort and not to be a prolonged bureaucratic tool of Brussels which sort out standards and bulletins and re-writes the European law. This approach was really lacked here.
Certainly, it is not good that there have been four ministers in the last four years. And other personal changes do not help, either. We are enhancing our present team; we would like to focus more on practice so that the clerk knew what will be the impact of his decision on the exact farmer and his production.
Furthermore, the example of decrease in milk production is not acceptable for us any longer. And that is why the European Union has so- called intervention mechanism for purchasing butter and dried skimmed milk into intervention storage rooms. The EU set the prices of these commodities and these are defined according to a particular referential price of milk. If I buy butter for a particular price, I pay the milkman, he subtracts his costs for its processing and the farmer, the primary producer, will get a particular purchasing price. This is a principle onto which the interventional policy of the EU against farmers. At present, the interventional price of the EU is 21 cents per a kilogram. An average price of Slovak milk was 19.5 cents for the period between January and August 2009. However, this price changed dramatically, in January it was 25 cents, later it fell down to 14 cents and in October it rose to 23 cents. If our milk producers followed and used the intervention and thus they decreased the purchasing price from 35 to 21 cents and they could give a part of their production into the interventional storage rooms of the EU. Slovakia was the only state that did not use this opportunity and because of that farmers lost a huge amount of money. On average, by 2.5 cents per kilogram and in the total production quota by 25 million Euros (750 million SKK).
 
Did you manage to stabilize the situation in the milk market?
The average price of milk in the EU is at the level of 26 cents. In Slovakia we used to produce a billion tons of milk, now, we decreased down to 850- 800 million. We spoke to a milkman that when they will continue pushing the price of milk down to 14 cents, farmers will not be able to produce milk for this price and they rather slaughter their cattle. And it has happened. They killed cows and heifers were sold in Russia. Nowadays, milkmen say they want more milk. If they want to buy it away from Slovakia, they will buy it for an average European price plus 5 cents for transport. And they know they cannot afford it. I am glad that the Slovak Milk Producers´ Union has finally understood the interventional policy of the EU and at the end of November 2009; they signed the Memorandum on agreement with Slovak Union of Primary milk producers. The memorandum guarantees that the purchasing price of milk will never decrease below the interventional price and that farmers will be paid an average price of the EU, however, bimonthly overdue. Based on the memorandum a new collective labour agreement was signed between the, and our ministry.
Apart from that we asked Brussels to get extra 56 Euro per a dairy cow from the scheme SAPS to the support which we give in the amount of 148 Euro per a big cattle unit.
Thus we would like to ensue farmers the price between 30 and 32 cents per kilogram. Now, the farmers have to contribute as well and they have to eliminate costs down to 3 cents and thus they can survive. This is the way how everyone will contribute somehow- Slovak milkman who uses the mechanism of the EU, our ministry through the national budget and a farmer who will reduce the costs and attempts try to produce the most efficiently. It is the only possible way to stabilize the situation in the milk market.
 
How many farmers cam manage it in Slovakia, though?
We cannot influence it. We are able to create stable environment.
 
Why did such a memorandum and a collective labour agreement appear now, at the end of the year?
Because Slovak milkmen, milk producers did not get involved in the interventional policy of the EU and did not use it. They did not manage the situation. First, they pushed the prices down, later they began asking us to stop export of milk away fro m Slovakia. What can the minister do when farmers do not trust creameries and they considered their trade policy liquidating?
 
Are Slovak creameries able to process all home made milk?
If milk cannot be processed, it can be dried and sold to the interventional storehouses. It is necessary to produce for storerooms if the interventional policy of the EU is being applied and Brussels also subsidizes pro- export support to the countries of the third world. It is necessary to use interventional mechanism of the EU. Though, the Dutch and Germans produce even more milk than before and they would not be able to do so without the interventional mechanisms. 


Will you meet at the chimney?
The brand of the beer Cassovar has not disappeared- Global Group, the developer, has turned it into modern apartment houses, two administration towers, complex catering, purchasing and relaxation services and car parks. 1,200 employees of the company T-Systems Slovakia will also find its place there in the first phase already.
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: Jozef Veselý
 
In March 2010, one of the biggest multifunctional complexes in Slovakia will have been completed and opened in Košice. It has been given a name Cassovar and it spreads in the area of 88,000 square meters. The total investment has reached the value of 100 million Euros and has been the most strategic investment of that kind in Košice in the field of development. Due to that, eventually, the metropolis of Eastern Slovakia has experienced new modern construction, in which the spaces for housing, working and relaxing have been joined in a very synergetic way.
 
When, in 1997, a 140-year -  old tradition of industrial beer production vanished from Košice, hardly anyone expected that the brand of a bankrupt, deteriorated and damaged brewery Cassovar could be inspiration for an exalted and useful purpose. However, ten more years had passed until it was given its real face and appearance. And it might have never had it if two architects, classmates and long-term friends had not discussed and thought about how to get Košice to become a part of the map of developers´ projects during long nights. Their ideas began to be carried out in middle of the year 2007 when a two and half hectare area of the former brewery in Florianska Street revived again. The construction of a new complex of modern apartment houses and office buildings was started up in this area which forms the border between the old town and modern town.
 
Common Project Led by Global Group
“The project Cassovar is a developers’ project with a few participating companies while its basic idea and leadership belongs to company Global Group a.s.,” says Miroslav Marynčák, the chairman of the board of directors of this developer, project and investment company based in Bratislava and one of the authors of the urban conception of a new area. “After long-termed devastation and after 150 years, we set the basic stone of new Cassovar in summer 2007. The main representative of the connection with historic and magic, landmark and symbolic point is an impressive 60 metre high brewery chimney. The second is Bauerneble´s House, a historic, although not registered as a historical sight, former administration, and research building which name we related to the significant brewery family of the Bauernebles. Nevertheless, we have not managed to preserve a wide arch system in the cellars due to their state of demolition,” he adds. His company Global Group, which has been operating in the market since 1999, participated, for example, in the construction of the administration centre of Digital Park, Tatracentre in Hodžovo námestie (Hodža Square) and the air-control tower at the M.R. Štefánik´s Airport in Bratislava.
 
Godfather
The tale of Košice Project began to be written in 2005 when Global Group decided to enter the Košice market and invest in revitalization of the brewery area. At the time, Peter Murko was the main architect of the city Košice. Having been led by him, the team of main architect section was preparing a wide plan of the territorial development of the city with chosen and prepared localities for potential investors. Košice was getting ready for a constructing boom as a city of future.
“ The area of the original brewery had been conceptually prepared so that it could have been spread and the historical city centre would have been joined with Terasa, a housing estate, or to a lucrative ten-hectare demolition area, at the end of which a new shopping centre Galéria was being built at the time,” explains Peter Murko, who had been holding the post of the main architect for 14 years. Due to this fact, he held the record among post- November architects of Slovak cities.
“At the beginning of the 1990s, this area had serious problems. The former brewery ended up its production, there had been a few unsuccessful attempts to renew it and finally it was involved in tender and it has not been used since then. When we found out that a new owner of lands was searching for its use, the idea was born slowly, i.e. the idea of its possible multifunctional building in order to create a new centre with city features. I showed the effort to convince Global Group to come to Košice and invest money in this area,” Peter Murko continues. When the project was being started, he was working for the company Skanska as a manager for synergic implementations. His main task to search for, persuade and join investors and thus look for partners for this important international company. “I continued doing the same things as I used to as the main city architect. I was very close to start up cooperation with the company PeeMDe Global, a subsidiary of Global Group, with a group of people who were aware of the local conditions and had already been working on the conception, complex urban study and site preparation works. Later, I joined the group to help them. Our basic philosophy was to erect a kind of a new entrance gate to the city, a new small centre where people can live, work, relax and use services. That is why we searched for suitable solvers from Bratislava to sort out an architectural point of view, “claims Peter Murko who is now a strategy manager for PeeMDe Global a.s.        
 
Residence
The result of the common attempt is a supertemporal architecture in which traces and artefacts of history are melted. First of all, a luxurious Residence with 90- exclusive apartments was begun to be built; it represent a new level of quality in the segment of housing. The sizes between 50 and 150m2 and variable disposition allow being flexible in order to meet clients´ needs and requirements. This part involves a green yard (block), walkable roofs, above the time technical equipment, underground car park for 180 cars and all day accessible shopping areas. The residence was handed over in October 2009 and approximately 350 people will create their new homes there. “So far, 60% of apartments have been sold already, as they are more luxurious and bigger ones, we expected such a result, says peter Murko.  
 
Cassovar Business Centre
It represents the second part of the project and a compatible architecture with pure lines. It consists of two separated seven-storey administration towers with a two- storey ground floor and an underground parking place for 750 cars. The towers will be used as representative headquarters of firms with the capacity of 2,500 jobs.
T- Systems Slovakia has rented one of them, and the company intends to be based here and continuously it will employ almost 1,200 its employees. “During the creation of this project, we began cooperation with T-Systems which was looking for premises and showed enough attempt to rent one administration tower. Designing the interior with open spaces of the top category has been adjusted to its needs. In terms of its technical and architectural design, this administration building is comparable to similar buildings in Bratislava. It will be handed over in December this year,” emphasises Peter Murko.
Another tower was supposed to be a four-star hotel with a congress centre. However, the investor changed its original intension and it will be administration building as well. “Based on my experience and the needs of the city, we know that the hotels should be located on the main roads leading to the city. Nevertheless, Cassovar is not situated there. As there is a great demand on administration capacities, we would rather meet these demands in the market.”
 
Retail as Shopping Galleria
Both towers will be joined by a so-called shopping gallery where various shops, restaurants, cafés, a historical beer house, the most modern relaxing and wellness centre in Košice will be places there along with other operations. Almost 70% of the area has already been rented.
There will be a small square placed among these three objects. The originally bricked chimney will be its domain. It is a meter higher than a well-known tower of the gothic cathedral in Košice. A small park with the original St. Florian’s Chapel (the patron of brewery men), a protected historical sight, will be the parts of the area. The complex Cassovar is only 520 meters far from the historical centre and is ideal for all kinds of transport. It will take you 7 minutes by walking to get to the heart of the city - St. Elisabeth’s Cathedral, 12 minutes to the bus and railway station.


Welcome to 2025!
American Pre-eminence Ends Fifteen Years Early. The economic power is shifting from the United States to China and other rising economic dynamos. How much longer will Washington feel that Americans can afford to subsidize a global role?
 
Michael T. Klare (the Nation defence correspondent, a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College. His latest book is Rising Power, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy)
Headlines and subheadlines: Dimenzie
Photo: Ettore Ferrari, Stephen Jaffe, Christof Sonderegger, Philipp Klinger, White House
 
Memo to the CIA: you may not be prepared for time-travel, but welcome to 2025 anyway! Your rooms may be a little small, your ability to demand better accommodations may have gone out the window, and the amenities may not be to your taste, but get used to it. It’s going to be your reality from now on. Okay, now for the serious version of the above: In November 2008, the National Intelligence Council (NIC), an affiliate of the Central Intelligence Agency, issued the latest in a series of futuristic publications intended to guide the incoming Obama administration. Peering into its analytic crystal ball in a report titled Global Trends 2025, it predicted that America’s global pre-eminence would gradually disappear over the next fifteen years--in conjunction with the rise of new global powerhouses, especially China and India.
 
The report examined many facets of the future strategic environment, but its most startling, and news-making, finding concerned the projected long-term erosion of American dominance and the emergence of new global competitors. “Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor (in 2025),” it stated definitively, the country’s “relative strength even in the military realm will decline and U.S. leverage will become more constrained.”
 
The Global Power Shift
That, of course, was then; this some eleven months into the future is now, and how things have changed. Futuristic predictions will just have to catch up to the fast-shifting realities of the present moment. Although published after the onset of the global economic meltdown was underway, the report was written before the crisis reached its full proportions and so emphasized that the decline of American power would be gradual, extending over the assessment’s fifteen-year time horizon. But the economic crisis and attendant events have radically upset that timetable. As a result of the mammoth economic losses suffered by the United States over the past year and China’s stunning economic recovery, the global power shift the report predicted has accelerated. For all practical purposes, 2025 is here already. Many of the broad, down-the-road predictions made in Global Trends 2025 have, in fact, already come to pass. Brazil, Russia, India and China collectively known as the BRIC countries are already playing far more assertive roles in global economic affairs, as the report predicted would happen in perhaps a decade or so. At the same time, the dominant global role once monopolized by the United States with a helping hand from the major Western industrial powers collectively known as the Group of 7 (G-7) has already faded away at a remarkable pace. Countries that once looked to the United States for guidance on major international issues are ignoring Washington’s counsel and instead creating their own autonomous policy networks. The United States is becoming less inclined to deploy its military forces abroad as rival powers increase their own capabilities and non-state actors rely on “asymmetrical” means of attack to overcome the US advantage in conventional firepower.
No one seems to be saying this out loud yet but let’s put it bluntly: less than a year into the fifteen-year span of Global Trends 2025, the days of America’s unquestioned global dominance have come to an end. It may take a decade or two (or three) before historians will be able to look back and say with assurance, “That was the moment when the United States ceased to be the planet’s pre-eminent power and was forced to behave like another major player in a world of many competing great powers.” The indications of this great transition, however, are there for those who care to look.
 
The USA is passing a baton to G-20
Here is my list of six recent developments that indicate we are entering “2025” today. All six were in the news in the last few weeks, even if never collected in a single place. They (and other events like them) represent a pattern: the shape, in fact, of a new age in formation.
1. At the global economic summit in Pittsburgh on September 24 and 25, the leaders of the major industrial powers, the G - 7 (G - 8 if you include Russia) agreed to turn over responsibility for oversight of the world economy to a larger, more inclusive Group of 20 (G - 20), adding in China, India, Brazil, Turkey and other developing nations. Although doubts have been raised about the ability of this larger group to exercise effective global leadership, there is no doubt that the move itself signaled a shift in the locus of world economic power from the West to the global East and South-and with this shift, a seismic decline in America’s economic preeminence has been registered.
“The G-20’s true significance is not in the passing of a baton from the G-7/G-8 but from the G-1, the U.S.,” Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University wrote in the Financial Times. “Even during the 33 years of the G-7 economic forum, the U.S. called the important economic shots.” Declining American leadership over these last decades was obscured by the collapse of the Soviet Union and an early American lead in information technology, Sachs also noted, but there is now no mistaking the shifting of economic power from the United States to China and other rising economic dynamos.
 
The Rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China
According to news reports, America’s economic rivals are conducting secret (and not-so-secret) meetings to explore a diminished role for the US dollar fast losing its value in international trade. Until now, the use of the dollar as the international medium of exchange has given the United States a significant economic advantage: it can simply print dollars to meet its international obligations, while other nations must convert their own currencies into dollars, often incurring significant added costs. Now, however, many major trading countries among them China, Russia, Japan, Brazil and the Persian Gulf oil countries are considering the use of the Euro, or a “basket” of currencies, as a new medium of exchange. If adopted, such a plan would accelerate the dollar’s precipitous fall in value and further erode American clout in international economic affairs.
One such discussion reportedly took place this summer at a summit meeting of the BRIC countries. Just a concept a year ago, when the very idea of BRIC was concocted by the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, the BRIC consortium became a flesh-and-blood reality this June when the leaders of the four countries held an inaugural meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The very fact that Brazil, Russia, India and China chose to meet as a group was considered significant, as they jointly possess about 43 percent of the world’s population and are expected to account for 33 percent of the world’s gross domestic product by 2030 about as much as the United States and Western Europe will claim at that time. Although the BRIC leaders decided not to form a permanent body like the G-7 at this stage, they did agree to coordinate efforts to develop alternatives to the dollar and to reform the International Monetary Fund in such a way as to give non-Western countries a greater voice.
 
No Sanctions on Iran
On the diplomatic front, Washington has been rebuffed by both Russia and China in its drive to line up support for increased international pressure on Iran to cease its nuclear enrichment program. One month after President Obama cancelled plans to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe in an apparent bid to secure Russian backing for a tougher stance toward Tehran, top Russian leaders are clearly indicating that they have no intention of endorsing strong new sanctions on Iran. “Threats, sanctions, and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive,” declared the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, following a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Moscow on October 13. The following day, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that the threat of sanctions was “premature.” Given the political risks Obama took in canceling the missile program a step widely condemned by Republicans in Washington--Moscow’s quick dismissal of US pleas for cooperation on the Iranian enrichment matter can only be interpreted as a further sign of waning American influence.
Exactly the same inference can be drawn from a high-level meeting in Beijing on October 15 between Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Iran’s first vice president, Mohammed Reza Rahimi. “The Sino-Iran relationship has witnessed rapid development as the two countries’ leaders have had frequent exchanges, and cooperation in trade and energy has widened and deepened,” Wen said at the Great Hall of the People. Coming at a time when the United States is engaged in a vigorous diplomatic drive to persuade China and Russia, among others, to reduce their trade ties with Iran as a prelude to toughened sanctions, the Chinese statement can only be considered a pointed rebuff of Washington.
 
Strikingly disappointing response to the new military troops in Afghanistan
From Washington’s point of view, efforts to secure international support for the allied war effort in Afghanistan have also met with a strikingly disappointing response. In what can only be considered a trivial and begrudging vote of support for the US-led war effort, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on October 14 that Britain would add more troops to the British contingent in that country - but only 500 more, and only if other European nations increase their own military involvement, something he undoubtedly knows is highly unlikely. So far, this tiny, provisional contingent represents the sum total of additional troops the Obama administration has been able to pry out of America’s European allies, despite a sustained diplomatic drive to bolster the combined NATO force in Afghanistan. In other words, even America’s most loyal and obsequious ally in Europe no longer appears willing to carry the burden for what is widely seen as yet another costly and debilitating American military adventure in the Greater Middle East.
 
Not Chicago but Rio de Janeiro picked for the 2016 Summer Olympics
Finally, in a move of striking symbolic significance, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) passed over Chicago (as well as Madrid and Tokyo) to pick Rio de Janeiro to be the host of the 2016 summer Olympics, the first time a South American nation was selected for the honor. Until the Olympic vote took place, Chicago was considered a strong contender, especially since former Chicago resident Barack Obama personally appeared in Copenhagen to lobby the IOC. Nonetheless, in a development that shocked the world, Chicago not only lost out but was the city eliminated in the very first round of voting.
“Brazil went from a second-class country to a first-class country, and today we began to receive the respect we deserve,” said Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at a victory celebration in Copenhagen after the vote. “I could die now and it already would have been worth it.” Few said so, but in the course of the Olympic decision-making process the United States was summarily and pointedly demoted from sole superpower to instant also-ran, a symbolic moment on a planet entering a new age.
 
On Being an Ordinary Country
These are only a few examples of recent developments that indicate, to this author, that the day of America’s global preeminence has already come to an end, years before the American intelligence community expected. It’s increasingly clear that other powers even our closest allies are increasingly pursuing independent foreign policies, no matter what pressure Washington tries to bring to bear.
Of course, none of this means that, for some time to come, the United States won’t retain the world’s largest economy and, in terms of sheer destructiveness, its most potent military force. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the strategic environment in which American leaders must make critical decisions, when it comes to the nation’s vital national interests, has changed dramatically since the onset of the global economic crisis.


Inspirations of His Own Being
Martin Zbrojan, an academic painter, was born in Michalovce (1960). He studied figural painting at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, in the ateliers of Professor K. Souček and R. Kolář and in the graphic studio of Professor L. Čepelák. He deals with chamber paintings and graphics, creation ex libris; he works as a pedagogue at the Department of Fine Art at the Faculty of Humanities and Natural Sciences at Prešov University in Prešov. “I consider painting a systematic work as well as the expression of free thinking, choice, searching for my own expressional opportunities. My own existence is the main source of inspiration. Sometimes, it is a man who I come across or the country, space that surrounds me or sometimes it is a human being I have never met. My painting has its philosophical context. It is based on trialled approaches. I would rather rely on my own invention. It is very important to me,” he says. So far, he has exhibited at various individual and collective exhibitions in Slovakia, in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, France, Romania, Japan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Belgium and in Macedonia.   

 

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