February 2009

Think! There is no point getting into a panic about the economic crisis!
They want to protect national and universal cultural heritage
What is the volume of investments required to achieve the goals you have set?
What opportunities are you researchers given?
How do you interconnect the university with practice, production and trading companies?
Which big project would you like to use the European Funds for?
Which foreign universities does your school cooperate with?
Who is doc. Ing. Martin Mišút, CSc.
Croatian Lourdes
Obama´s Obstacles
The unemployment rate is likely to rise to 10 percent
The dysfunctional financial system
Traps of the renewed consumer demand
What can the Congress do?
About William Greider
LIGA was born
Europarkett floors known in Microsoft
German Technology and Slovak sense
They use renewable and sustainable wood
Competitiveness
Advantages of water power plant beneath Starhrad
Graphic widow-pane

Think! There is no point getting into a panic about the economic crisis!
As if we were going in circles. And perhaps it is much more obvious that it seems to be. The economic crisis in the USA and west Europe was not caused by the financial crisis but by the surplus production. Americans and west Europeans postponed its outbreak in the 1990s because they managed to find new markets in Central and East Europe where neo-liberal economic theories about the free market and massive privatization were being implemented. Having followed the saying: „ The state is the worst owner ever,“ the governments were obliged to get rid of everything that might have possibly competed west European states whose export and production were given state support. People, market and production in Central and East Europe had to change in 24 hours (in some cases it led to the civil war) and the common sense was overcome by a kind of a political reward (faster integration to the NATO which moved American military bases to other regions in Europe and then the membership in the European Union, in the club of the states that became subordinated to American globalization and got used to living in debts.
Well, in other words, Central Europe had to go through the painful economic transformation and they became the target markets for their surplus production and enabled to prolong prosperity of American and west European banks, financial institutions and companies. Central Europe had to become independent from the socialistic the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and Russian roubles in order to open the Americans and west countries to move forward to the east and thus it got trapped in the unifying European market. As we know production controlled by bureaucrats and various quotas (even for oxygen and emissions), confidential subsidies, pre- integration, structural and development funds domains the free market. Consequences of this dictate of “free market” should be compensated by high living standard including purchasing cars, houses, goods, services and holidays, however, by using lent money via leasing and credit companies or various loans.
Let´s try to face the truth. Well, just in Slovakia. Our government, or the Committee on Economic Crisis is trying to get over the economic recession using various measures. Let me mention how the Slovak citizens, entrepreneurs, small and medium companies, they had to survive the right- winged reforms and tightening the belts just to live better and “ healthier” lives. And how long did that way towards the better life take? Only twenty or just ten years since November 1989? And what have we experienced and developed so far in this promised sustainable paradise or development? Three, two or just a year? Or we have not experienced it yet like communism? And now the reforms and measures again? And what are they about? Giving away money? Who has been stricken by the crisis in Slovakia? Who has been influenced mostly? Huge multinational companies that were supported by the government and were given a lot of advantages ( lower taxing) just to provide people with good jobs and fill in all the industrial parks at the expense of small and medium entrepreneurs? Unfortunately, although these firms that had just been using cheap labour force in Slovakia are now first who are eliminating their production and are making the number of employees redundant. And consequently their suppliers and business partners. Does the government really want to support these firms again? Does it really intend to use the money paid by taxpayers just to maintain the employment rate in those companies? And what and who will they be producing goods for? Just for stores them in warehouses? How long is it possible to maintain such a state?
The Committee on Economic Crisis is unable to tell our nation the truth: the main subject of this crisis production and its sales, lower production costs in China and India. Actually, deduction subsidies are useless for small and medium entrepreneurs as they have nothing to produce and no one to produce goods for. Can you think of a business you might be able to set up at present? How can I be motivated to establish a new firm?
What can the social enterprises do if the members of the Committee on Economic Crisis are not able to answer these questions? Only sweep the streets, mow the grass and clean Slovakia? Just to be compared to suffering Serbia and its government defined two priorities: support firms that export goods and domestic production. Luckily (or unluckily?!) Serbia is not the candidate for the integration in the European Union and has signed the Customs union with Russia…Does Slovakia actually have its domestic production and is it able to renew and maintain its independence? Does it really want to renew? I think that these are the topic that should be discussed by both the public and experts. Likely the issue why the state and the governmental institutions and self- governing bodies who live from citizens´ taxes do not reduce the number of white- collars and employees as they did in the private sector? Are they afraid of sending them to construct a new airport terminal, of using these people within transport and telecommunication infrastructure, of telling them to plant potatoes or cut trees? If unemployed people from private companies can do so, why couldn´t state or self- government employees do that as well? Why does the government put the biggest burden of overcoming the crisis on the fantasy and creativity of private sector, of small and medium entrepreneurs?
What is then the ministry of economy for? So far, the ministry has come up with the only solution to establish the common state enterprise with the Russian Gazprom for deliveries of natural gas and construction of tanks. However, if the state is the part of the market, its firms, employees and white- collars can be involved as well, can´t they?
Ne more idea has come up to my mind. Look at the state buildings and police facilities, railway and bus station buildings, schools, universities, hospitals, social facilities, parks, pavements, roads, etc. They have been in ruins for a long time. We lack playgrounds, sporting facilities, a lot of kindergartens and nurseries and primary schools desperately need new equipment, chairs, furniture, carpets… If the state or the government wants to help the private sector and mainly self- employed people, they can use their services and place orders with them to carry out complex reconstructions, modernization and construction. They do not need any tenders and public competitions. The Slovak government and its Committee should increase the pressure on production and output of state employees and white- collars likely at the regional self- governments. If they support them in terms of maintaining the employment and social securities in confrontation with private sector and thus ask them for sufficient performance. There is plenty of work in Slovakia.
Róbert Matejovič,
editor in chief


They want to protect national and universal cultural heritage
„The question is whether financing of foreign universities from the public funds of the Slovak republic will not weaken the economic power of Slovak universities so much that they will not be able to survive. Sometimes I have a feeling that the emphasis is put more and more on criteria and performance and we lack any kinds of spontaneity and joy from creative work, I feel that a university has just become the part of the economic chain,” says Martin Mišút, the rector of Trnava University in Trnava.
 
This university continues in the history and tradition of the former Universitas Tyrnaviensis, the oldest university in the Hungarian Kingdom and one of the oldest universities in Central Europe. It was established by Cardinal Peter Pazmanyi, Hungarian Primes, in 1635. At first it had only two faculties, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Theology, in 1667, the Faculty of Law was opened and in 1769, the Faculty of Medicine as well. Since the beginning, its academic liberties had been guaranteed by the Bulla issued by the Roman Caesar Ferdinand on 18 October 1635. From the beginning unit list movement to Budin in 1777, the university spread freely the knowledge and education, protected and developed values and Christian culture. It became popular for its observatory managed by Maximilian Hell, foe its university library, gardens and the theatre.
Trnava University was renewed by the Slovak parliament by the law no. 191 from the year 1992. At present, the university has five faculties ( Theological in Bratislava, the Faculty of Education, of Arts, of Law and a Faculty of Health and Social Care) with more than seven thousand undergraduates within both daily and external studies.
 
Mr Rector, our university supports and develops the importance of the traditions of the original university that operated in Trnava for 142 years. What exactly do you endorse to? What is the heritage of the university you would like to develop?
Our programme is closely linked to the traditions of the former scholastic Universitas Tyrnaviensis, supporting the democratic and Christian traditions what is explicitly expressed in the preamble of the   university statute. We are also a school of higher education opened to all students regardless their ideology or confession.
The former Trnava University used to be a multinational university as there where many students of various nations not only from the Hungarian Kingdom but also from West Europe. This fact supports out ambition to become more international in a long- termed horizon and thus help the university to revive the influence and importance of historical Trnava University in the areas of culture, education of nations in the Hungarian Kingdom.
The philosophical thinking at the university in the17th and 18th centuries can be characterized as the period of transition from scholastics (Medieval dogmatic formalistic philosophy) to modern philosophical thinking. Trnava philosophers of those days were fairly critical to new ideological streams, they were influenced positively by Copernicus and Bacon, from whom they accepted the idea of integrity of religious and experiential knowledge in thinking and just this integrity of thinking and a spirit of synthesis is its heritage and were trying to apply it at present as well.
 
In your opinion, is the present Slovak society, its political and spiritual leaders aware of the fact that the highest educational institution was established in Trnava, Slovakia in the former Hungarian Kingdom?
I have a feeling that we are not aware of it like of many other facts. Printing press and astronomical observatory were the parts of Trnava University. Although Latin was the official university language, this institution played its important role in the development of Slovak language and Slovak consciousness. I would like to mention Mikuláš Miris from Domaniža and his works in Slovak language, Martin Szentiványi from Liptovský Svätý Ján who proved that Pannonians, who spoke Slovak language, were the oldest inhabitants of the Hungarian Kingdom or Samuel Timon and his theory about the alliance of Pannonian Slovaks and old Hungarians and their participation in creating a new Hungarian state. He was the founder of the first conception of the Slovak history when he proved autochthony and history of the Slovaks.
Many other intellectuals operated at Trnava University for example Cardinal Alexander Rudnay, Andrej Kmeť, Ján Palárik, Jozef Viktorín or Adam František Kollár whose pedagogical opinions influenced the reform of the education system carried out by Maria Teresa.
Trnava University was established during the thirty- year- old war and it meant a significant contribution to the development of the education, cloture and creativity in the Hungarian Kingdom. The university made Trnava the most significant centre of cultural life of Slovaks in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is an inerasable part of our history, we can be really proud of and it is our duty to follow this glorious tradition.
 
You want to continue in the glorious tradition of your school. However, if we have a look at the amount of state and private investments in the development of Slovak universities, it has always been the same and it lasts a few years- money is lacked and universities are suffering from financial malnutrition. The state has put pressure on the development of science and research through the projects and the European funds, but on the other hand it began to support foreign universities that entered Slovakia. How do you comment this? What is the position of your university from the point of view of ht state and private investments?
I understand the motivation of foreign universities that led them to make a decision to come to Slovakia. Their main goal is to increase the competition and thus strengthen the quality of Slovak universities. It is their legal attempt. However, the question is whether financing of foreign universities from the public funds of the Slovak republic will not weaken the economic power of Slovak universities so much that they will not be able to survive. Competition is not perceived just from Slovak point of view but from the position of the struggle for taking position in terms of the global competition. Slovakia makes it easier for foreign universities and makes it more complicated to its own universities. It is very difficult to guess the consequences but in case of meeting very pessimistic estimations, it might appear that education and formation of future generations will be given to foreigners. Naturally, this situation might occur and we have to think about potential risks and protect our national cultural heritage.
Unfortunately, we have no experience with private investments and I am not taking books enriching our library by some very precious books. I believe that the time will come in Slovakia when philanthropy will mean to support university. And what I am trying to say it that we carry out all the investments only from public or own sources. Sources we have available are not enough for realization of all our investment intensions and we have to choose carefully those of a great importance. Although we get subsidies from the national budget thorough the Ministry, this money comes from our taxes and that is why we feel such commitment to the public and we feel a great deal of responsibility for our results.
 
Have you elaborated a long-term vision of your university? What kind of a scholastic university do you want to develop?
The University is not just the place for scientific research and education; it is also a cultural institute, the place where opinion clusters are formed and the truth is searched, and a kind of a creativity room where more generations meet. The future one so that is gained spiritual heritage of their predecessors, active generation and leaving generation that has its followers. The university is community of teachers and students who mutually enrich one another. It has always had its three main tasks since the beginning of its existence. Searching answers to questions that have not been answered yet by the scientific research, to share the acquired knowledge with others and form a new generation and teach them to be able to take responsibility for the society in terms of preserving and development of the national and universal cultural heritage and welfare for everyone, to be able to distinguish good and evil.
The university is not perceived and we do not want to perceive it as an institution that focuses more and more on gathering new information and partial knowledge fragmenting our knowledge, unable to provide orientation and mediate the sense of human existence. We prefer the overall view on the world and the essentials of things.
 
Do you say that your university refuses a new - era pressure of the industry and market so that universities became a kind of a modern farm for short - term needs and wishes?
At present, there are many attempts to reduce pragmatic knowledge and skills so that universities became utilitarian “products” and we forget the spiritual dimension and formation function. We understand the needs of the society but it is not possible to let the market dictate to everyone. The graduate has to have an ability to find pragmatic solutions of professional tasks, but he/ she has to understand cultural and social context because he/ she is the part of a particular community, region, nation and the society from time and special points of view. If we do not want to sacrifice the future just for present, we will have to keep balance between the immediate needs expressed by the updated demands of employers and a long- term interests of the whole society and nation. It has always been our privilege (I mean a privilege of universities) to search for the truth, spread it, form the future generations, develop and protect national and universal cultural heritage. It is impossible to resin from this post, not even nowadays.
 
As you are the representative of the traditional perception of the importance and mission of the university, what do you focus on most in the whole educational process?
On the harmonic knowledge and the overall formation of a young man so that our university was the jewellery box full of intellectual and spiritual values of the society. The internal atmosphere of the university is important to us as well. We want to preserve it as it is sometimes the reason why student have chosen our school. If there is a difference between a huge impersonal industrial building and a small family business, it is mainly rooted in its atmosphere and flexibility. And if people are given a choice, they usually go for pleasant family atmosphere. That is the reason why Trnava University is not extending very fast. We have agreed that we want to be a smaller university without being forced to increase the number of students by all means. We would rather concentrate all our power and energy on the improvement of quality and competitiveness in the field of scientific research and artistic activities and international recognition. Nevertheless, it requires changes in many university processes because we are aware of the dynamic development not only in Slovakia but predominantly in the world. While thinking about our future, we compare our university to those abroad, either in Europe or all over the world. I might sound too confident but if we want to anticipate the development of the university education in Slovakia, it is an inevitable thing to do.
 
Which way of managing the university is more effective- managerial or traditional that is said to be inflexible and rigid?
From historical point of view, universities are second oldest institutions in the world and it might be the reason why they are so glued to traditions. If someone criticized the flexibility of the university management, he must take into consideration the possibilities dependent on the current legislation which does not enable universities to be more flexible in their management. Even though we use managerial tools, consequences of all changes and measurements cannot be visible immediately, just time will tell. The fact that the public and state universities have their representatives elected (a rector, a dean for four years) usually means that those leaders prefer executive and medium-term goals that can be reached within their electoral period but at the expense of long- term goals. This status is also supported by law that orders universities to formulate a long- term plan just for six years. Compared to American universities, it is a big disadvantage. Despite all these facts, it does not mean that there is no way how to sort it out.
 
You said that you wanted your university to develop as a school of a smaller size but of a high quality. What are your current priorities?
The fact that our society is defined as a knowledge- based one puts an emphasis on knowledge and thus on the science and research. And this leads us to our high priority that we match with creating activities of our employees. Globalization has reached such an extension that it is necessary to join in the research networks and therefore we decided to strengthen our international dimension. At present, we are experiencing significant changes in education which, in terms of importance, are comparable to another historical event, i.e. the invention of the printing press. The transformation of the traditional education is also the scope of our attention.
In order to reach the goals set, we slowly create strategies for the transformation of individual processes at university, starting with the organization and support of creative activities through education up to its administration. Our main priorities are the support and development of creative scientific and artistic work in the context of the EU, new forms and methods of education so that a student and his needs remained in the centre of the educational process, internationalization of studying, increasing students´ mobility, development of life-long education and improvement of services for students.
We plan to move our university to the original historical complex of buildings, to build a studying and education centre Adalbertínum (in cooperation with the city), strengthen financial independence of the university, construct students hostel and reconstruct our last building that has not been repaired yet. We will also continue developing our specifics- arts programmes, the Slovak Historical Institute in Rome and the Institute of History of Trnava University. We are doing our best to create motivating and helpful environment for grants as well as for new young employees just entering the gates of their professional career.
 
What is the volume of investments required to achieve the goals you have set?
 Many of the goals do not require any direct finances, but on the other hand we require the change of thinking and approach towards matters. Time and attempt “invested” have already started bringing its rewards. Well, I would not mind it was faster… Naturally, the development of the university and realization of our plans requires funds as well. If I do not count in buildings that need reconstruction, all in all, we need approximately 19 million EUR for carrying out our investment plans and intension.
 
Hardly any university has its own Institute for studying its own history. What results has the Institute of the History of Trnava University reached? Will all the documents placed in the archives in Vienna and Budapest be returned to your university?
The idea to establish this institute appeared in 1999. We formed of the Cabinet of the History of Trnava University 1635-1777 as an internal workplace of the History department at the Faculty of Arts. The Institute is a scientific and research place of the university. Finally, the Institute took responsibility for documents and discarding activities, methodical supervising and care for the archive of the university and documentation concerning its present history. Since the end of the year 2005, the employees are carrying out the research of the documents regarding the history of Trnava University in the archives in Budapest, Veszprem and Rome. The results are being gathered and synthesized at the moment and they will be published as a monographic work called “the History of Trnava University” in the year 2010 at the occasion of the 375th anniversary of is establishing.
In 2007, the Institute participated in preparation of the memorial book on the occasion of ht 15th anniversary of renewing Slovak and regional memorial volumes and magazines, in 2006, the Institute held the international conference Jesuits´ Education in the past and at present.
During our research abroad, we developed a very nice cooperation with universities, faculties and archives in Budapest (Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, Semmelweis Orvostudományi Egyetem) that showed their deep interest in common publishing of the archive documents and analysis in both languages. There is a ray of hope that our prepared projects will get necessary grants for their realization.
Concerning the documents about the history Trnava University that were taken to Budin along with the school in 1777, we do not expect it as there are no international agreements. The Archive of Trnava University, its library and monuments are protected by some state and church archives. So far, we have experienced helpfulness and straightforwardness while exchanging digital pictures from Hungarian archives.
 
Do you develop the Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Theology as the most prestigious at your university?
All our faculties are important to us. And we are delighted to see our faculties to reach very good ranking in ARRA surveys. Our faculties are comparable to others in Slovakia. Of course, it does not mean we do nothing. Every faculty has its specific position within the university and within Slovakia as well. For example, the Faculty of Arts achieves good results in the archaeological excavations and research in Turkey. The Faculty of Education has very good results in publishing books and cooperation within the frame EU programmes., the Faculty of Health and Social Care is known for its humanitarian projects in the “ third world”, the Faculty of Theology has a large number of doctoral students, a valuable library an a unique research workplace. The Faculty of Law uses non –standard forms of organizing the education by using law clinics and its library became a deposit library UNIDROIT in the Slovak Republic in 2001. It is the part of the worldwide network of deposit libraries of the International Organization of Unification of Civil Law. As you can see each faculty has its value. I have just mentioned some specific feature of each faculty but there are many more. What is the most important to us? So that all the faculties developed in harmony at and in favour of our university.
 
How does your university want to compete with other universities in Slovakia and in Central Europe?
Supposing the conditions are fair for all, we are not afraid of competition in the field of higher education. However, high rate of regulations and state dictate give an only a little space and has a negative influence on flexibility of decision making. Regulative obstructions are a disadvantage for public universities in their competition with private ones. Tough competition requires the university to be able to adapt while increasing rate of regulations and administration burden disables the public universities to move forward. Despite this statement, I do not see our future pessimistic.
Compared to other universities, we would to offer our student a special atmosphere of studying leading to the creation of a purely studying community where gaining, creating and application of knowledge is important for your happiness, health and prosperity of the society. Quality is preferred to quantity. Predominantly, we want to build up our reputation on uniqueness, i.e. something that makes us different from others. Values and tasks of the university. Our people are the greatest potential of our university... They form a strange dynamic community. Hey work on education and research together. They are glad that they can work together and they do a very good job.    
Sometimes I have a feeling that the emphasis is put more and more on criteria and performance and we lack any kinds of spontaneity and joy from creative work, I feel that a university has just become the part of the economic chain. Is it a kind of resignation of our society? Or are universities losing their cultural and social importance? Or does it mean the end of universities in their traditional form as we have known them for many centuries? If you do not show an immediate contribution and industrial use of your creative activities, you are not precious. Just to make myself clear, we want to reach s particular balance between the market, cultural and social value because any extreme is dangerous and negative from a long- term point of view.
 
Has Trnava University become attractive to foreign students yet? Which faculties are they interested most?
WE intend to strengthen the international character of our university in terms of research and education. The number of students who have come here for a semester or two within the European programmes is increasing. However, what is more important to us is to increase the number of students, foreigner who would complete all their studies here. Last year, we approved a strategy for creating systematic conditions for increasing the number of foreign students. I expect to see the results in a few- years´ time. At present we have experience with students from India and Pakistan studying at the Faculty of Theology, from Kenya studying at the Faculty of Health and Social Care and I have not even mentioned many students from the Czech Republic. The Faculty of Law has come up with a new innovative studying programme in English language for the applicants from the Far East.
 
What opportunities are you researchers given?
In the field of creative work, we are attempting to reach two main goals. As we are a smaller university, we are trying to concentrate our research capacities in order to create enough creative potential able to compete in some areas at the international level. On the other hand, we have to be active and take part in the international research networks and in the international cooperation. It does not have to necessarily be a formalized cooperation supported by grants from the European grant scheme. We also have good experience with creating new teams based on individual experience, contacts and common values. In practice t means that each faculty has al least one or maximum two centres with the potential to be established at the international level. The condition for support of these centres ( from the university point of view) is the ability of creative work at ht international level which must be proved the particular results- for example the participation in the tasks within the frame programmes of the EU.
For example, The Slovak Historical Institute in Rome is the part of Trnava University as well. The institute plays its very significant role in studying the history of Slovakia. Scientists and researchers who are given a grant from this institute get an opportunity to study in the archives in Rome, including the confidential Vatican Archive. And these are very precious sources of information about our Slovak history.
 
How do you interconnect the university with practice, production and trading companies?
Trnava University carries out the majority of its creative work in social and humanity scientists, fewer of them in natural sciences, health care and other sciences. Due to this reason, our immediate market potential of our creative work as it concerns education, health care, legislation, theology, society as such and an individual man is lower in comparison with technical specializations. However, it does not mean that we resigned. It is the other way round; we are still looking for the way how to use our potential. That is the reason why our university became the member of the Slovak Trade and Industrial Chamber.   
 
Which big project would you like to use the European Funds for?
We are trying to use the EU Funds in accordance with the announced appeals. One of our priorities is to found a Studying and Information Centre Adalbertinum. It will be an open workplace which will provide services for the academic circles of the university in order to improve the quality of life in the city and the entire Trnava region. The Centre will provide the public with professional consulting in the field of law, sociology, psychology, pedagogy and social work. It will create the space for the research and development centres of our university (to present results of scientific research in the permanent representative exposition). The library opened to the public will be its part as well. It will offer services like inter- writing recherché, reprographic services, consulting, bibliographical and factual information, using studying rooms with the IT, multimedia boxes for individual studying.
We would like to establish a Centre for further education of Trnava University in Adabertinum. It would offer the possibilities of education for those who are interests in further studying and of course, we plan t open the University of the Third Age in both classical and modern forms. We would like to pay more attention to disabled people. This centre will also form the base that will be used for trainings of university employees, for the city of Trnava and other partners.
We plan to build and equip video- conference rooms with the operation of public- access points to the Internet (the communication with the local government) in the Centre. WE pay attention to social and cultural dimension of the centre with premises for teachers, students, graduates and others who want to feel the atmosphere of Trnava University. There will be a small projection and concert hall, a university gallery, café, children’s corner and nursery for small children in the centre. A small concert hall will offer a lot of opportunities to organize small cultural events organized by the university, the University Pastoral Centre of Trnava University or by the city of Trnava. A nursery will be a good practice for student from the Faculty of Education. Our project has already been completed. We are looking for an interesting offer and who will pay for its all.   
 
Which foreign universities does your school cooperate with?
We have very good relationships and a high level of cooperation with some European and North American Universities, for example   University of Scranton, University of Ohio, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, University of Kuopio, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Eotvos Lórand University, Universidade de Lisboa, Uludag Universitesi Bursa, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Univertsite de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Heinrich -Heine University of Duesseldorf, Heythrop College, University of London, Libera Universita Maria Ss. Assunta, Roma, Universitet i Bergen, Uniwersytet Kardynala Stefana Wyszynskiego w Warszawie, Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Krakow, Universidad de Salamanca, Umea Universitet and many oters. On the one hand the cooperation has a character of students and teachers´ mobility and on the other hand, there are common research projects, common studying programmes or so-called summer schools. At present we are trying to extent our international cooperation in the region of Asia, i.e. the region of great potential. . We have signed more than fifty contracts with universities all over ht world and thus we have created a very good base for further cooperation of particular faculties and research teams. We cooperate in the field of mobilities, research projects and humanitarian projects. At present we are preparing common studying programmes, so-called Joint degrees, for example in the field of social work management with partners in Austrian, Switzerland, France, Hungary and the Czech Republic or the studying of history with the partners in France and Belgium.      
Sometimes I have a feeling that the emphasis is put more and more on criteria and performance and we lack any kinds of spontaneity and joy from creative work, I feel that a university has just become the part of the economic chain.
 
Trnava University adheres to the principles of the Great Charter of European Universities, which advocates for Universities their full independence from political and economic power, their freedom to research and to educate. Trnava University follows Christian principles, wants to serve truth, freedom and the human ideals of mankind. In addition it wants to protect moral and spiritual values, to educate in the spirit of ecumenism, seeking to cooperate with universities, educational and research institutions in Slovakia and abroad.
 
Who is doc. Ing. Martin Mišút, CSc.
He was born on January 3, 1962 in Hlohovec. After graduating from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, he worked for the Trnava automotive enterprises in Trnava, Since 1987, he has been working in the field of schooling and education. In 1993, he passed his doctoral examinations and in 1994, he went to attend a semester- post - graduate course (MBA) at Bradford University Management Centre in England. In 1996, he acquired his University of Cambridge FCE Certificate and he habilitated in the field of Applied Informatics and Automatization in Industry. His professional profile is completed by many short- term stays at partner schools in Germany, Belgium, Portugal and France. After returning to Slovakia, he got a job at the Faculty of Education at Trnava University in Trnava where he still works as a head and a lecturer of the Centre of further education at the Faculty of Education., he is a reader and a grant of a studying programme: teaching academic disciplines in the approbation with the informatics. Over past twenty years of his work at the university (apart from the pedagogical and scientific work), he has taken part in creating some studying programmes of the first, second and third degree. Between the years 2003 and 2007, he was a pro-rector of Trnava University for the information systems and publishing activities. He has been a rector since 2007. He is married and has two children.


Croatian Lourdes
You will find this place two kilometres far from the city centre of Makarska in Mary Virgin of Lourdes sanctuary. It has been given the name Veprice. The place was founded by Bishop Doc. Juraj CariĆ 101 years ago in the picturesque surroundings around the natural cave underneath the Biokovo Mountains. On 15th August 1908, he led the first big Croatian pilgrimage to Lourdes in the south of France. The event was held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of eighteen revelation of Holy Mary Virgin to Bernardine Soubirous in 1858. The bishop realized that the cave in Veprice was similar to that in France where Bernadrine Soubirous saw Mary Virgin. When he came back, he decided to build up and consecrate a pilgrimage place in his wooden town. He considered it as a fruit of this pilgrimage in Lurdes.
Veprice sanctuary has its chapel with an adytum, an altar in the square, a confession room, a calvary, a house for spiritual exercises as well as pavement for ceremonial processions and marches.
It is a place for a dialogue, a dialogue between faithful Roman Catholics and Mary Virgin, an oasis for prayers and gratitude, a place for spiritual resurrection, for healing and converting your heart. Being surrounded by an absolutely beautiful nature and silence, it is a very attractive place to visit throughout the year. Holly masses are served every day- in winter at 3 in the afternoon and in summer at 5 in the afternoon.  


Obama´s Obstacles
Obama’s stimulus program might restart factories in China. The crisis is global. The Levy Economics Institute´ s analysis calculates that it would require federal deficits of 8 to 10 percent of GDP - $2 trillion or more - to reverse the economic contraction. Tax penalties plus national economic policy can drive US multinationals to keep more of their value-added production at home.
 
By William Greider
Photo: archive
 
The nation’s fast-darkening circumstances define the essential dilemma of Barack Obama’s presidency. His instinct is to govern by consensus, in the moderate middle ground of politics. Yet dire events are pushing the new president toward solutions more fundamental than those he had intended. The longer he resists taking more forceful action, the more likely it is that he will be overwhelmed by the gathering adversities.
 
Three large obstacles are blocking Obama’s path. The first is one of scale: his nearly $800 billion recovery package sounds huge, but it is perhaps two or three times too small to produce a turnaround. The second is that the financial system - still dysfunctional despite the bailouts - requires much more than fiscal stimulus and bailout: the government must nationalize and supervise the banks to ensure that they carry out the lending and investing needed for recovery. This means liquidating some famous nameplatesled by Citigroupthat are spiraling toward insolvency. The third is that the crisis is global: the US economy cannot return to normal unless the unbalanced world trading system is simultaneously reformed. Globalization has vastly undermined US productive strength, as trade deficits have led the nation into deepening debtor dependence.
 
The unemployment rate is likely to rise to 10 percent
While Washington debates the terms of Obama’s stimulus package, others see disappointment ahead. The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, an outpost of Keynesian thinking, expresses its doubts in emotional language that professional economists seldom use. “The prospects for the US economy have become uniquely dreadful, if not frightening,” Levy analysts reported. The institute’s updated strategic analysis warns that the magnitude of negative forces--the virtual collapse of bank lending, private spending, consumer incomes and demand--”will make it impossible for US authorities to apply a fiscal and monetary stimulus large enough to return output and unemployment to tolerable levels within the next two years.” Instead, the unemployment rate is likely to rise to 10 percent by 2010. Obama’s package amounts only to around 3 percent, annually, of GDP in a $13 trillion economy. Levy’s analysis calculates that it would require federal deficits of 8 to 10 percent of GDP-$2 trillion or more-to reverse the economic contraction. And yet, the institute observed, it is inconceivable that this level “could be tolerated for purely political reasons” or that the United States could sustain the rising indebtedness without terrifying our leading creditors, like China.
Stimulus alone by a single nation will not work, in other words, given the distorted economic system that Obama has inherited. The stern warning from the Levy analysts and other skeptical experts is that the United States has no choice but to undertake deeper systemic reforms right now, rather than wait for recovery. Will Obama have the nerve to tackle these fundamentals? To do so he would have to abandon some orthodox assumptions about free trade and private finance that he shares with his economic advisers.
 
The dysfunctional financial system
The most obvious and immediate obstacle to systemic change is the dysfunctional financial system. It remains inert and hunkered down in self-protection, despite the vast billions in public money distributed so freely, no strings attached, in the last days of the Bush administration. We will learn soon enough whether Obama intends to start over with a more forceful approach. Obama and his advisers are eager to get another $350 billion in bailout funds, but they have remained silent on whether this will finance a government takeover of the system. Without such a move, the taxpayers will essentially be financing the slow death of failed institutions while getting nothing in return.
The most complex barrier to recovery is globalization and its negative impact on the economy. Given our grossly unbalanced trade, we have kept the system going by playing buyer of last resort--absorbing mountainous trade deficits and accumulating more than $5 trillion in capital debt to pay for swollen imports, while our domestic economy steadily loses jobs and production to other nations. Renewed consumer demand at home will automatically “leak” to rival economies and trading partners by boosting their exports to the US market--which subtracts directly from our GDP. This is the trap the lopsided trading system has created for recovery plans, and it cannot be escaped without fundamental reform.
 
Traps of the renewed consumer demand
To put it crudely, Obama’s stimulus program might restart factories in China while leaving US unemployment painfully high. In fact, some leakage may occur via the very banks or industrial corporations that taxpayers have generously assisted. What prevents Citigroup and General Motors from using their fresh capital to enhance overseas operations rather than investing at home? The new administration will therefore have to rethink the terms of globalization before its domestic initiatives can succeed.
A global recovery compact would require extremely difficult diplomacy but could be possible because it is in everyone’s self-interest. The United States could propose the outlines with one crucial condition: if the trading partners are unwilling to act jointly, Washington will have to proceed unilaterally. A grand bargain could start with US agreement to serve once again as the main engine that pulls the global economy out of the ditch. That is, the United States will have to continue as the buyer of last resort for the next few years, and China and other nations will have to bail us out with still more lending. In the short run, this would dig us into a deeper hole, but the United States could insist on a genuinely reformed system and mutually agreed return to balanced trade, once global recovery is under way.
 
What can the Congress do?
Congress can enact the terms now--a ceiling on US trade deficits that will decline steadily to tolerable levels, as well as new rules for US multinational enterprises that redefine their obligations to the home economy. Unlike in other advanced nations, US companies get a free ride from their home government when they relocate production abroad. That has to change if the United States is to reverse its weakening world position. Tax penalties plus national economic policy can drive US multinationals to keep more of their value-added production at home. These measures can be enforced through the tax code and, if necessary, a general tariff that puts a cap on imports. Formulating these provisions now for application later, once the worst of the crisis is over, would give every player the time to adjust investment strategies gradually.
President Obama and his team may at first scorn the notion of saving the world while negotiating a bailout for the United States. They will be reluctant to talk about reforming the global system by threatening to invoke emergency tariffs. But we are in uncharted waters. Impossible ideas abruptly begin to seem plausible. Six months from now, if the Obama recovery does not materialize, the president may discover he has to reinvent himself.
 
About William Greider
National affairs correspondent William Greider has been a political journalist for more than thirty-five years. A former Rolling Stone and Washington Post editor, he is the author of the national bestsellers One World, Ready or Not, Secrets of the Temple, Who Will Tell The People, The Soul of Capitalism (Simon & Schuster) and--due out in February from Rodale--Come Home, America.


LIGA was born
On 28 February 2009, the establishing congress of a new political party called LIGA, civil and liberal party will be held in Bratislava. After a few nail biting months, twenty- six members of the preparatory committee led by Róbert Nemcsics, the former minister of the economy and the deputy of the chairman of the political party ANO, decided to move the project towards its final phase. The date of the congress has not been chosen randomly- sixty one years ago, Slovakia ruled by the large-scale Democratic Party had to give up the pressure of the Czech and Slovak communists and accept the Prague communistic putsch in the former Czechoslovakia. The same date, 28th February 2009, will be a symbol of a new process (desperately needed in Slovakia) for LIGA. To establish the party which would not divide citizens of one country but it will join them together in order to find pragmatic solutions of regular state and regional problems regardless citizens´ nationality, ideology and religion. These well-stated goals for the future decade deserve our attention even though disappointed and fed up citizens already have many questions. For example: “Is LIGA against the Christian traditions and values? What kind of liberalism will they pursue? Will it get rid of corrupted faces in politics? Will it support registered partnerships of gays and lesbians? Or terminations of pregnancy? What sorts of new liberal economic theories will the party offer at the time of the economic crisis? Who and how will finance this party?  
At the congress, the civic liberals would like to approve their agenda priorities, i.e. priorities of a new modern alternative that would move Dzurinda´s old- fashioned blue alternative to the past and attack an almost monopole creation of the social state in Slovakia with compulsory allies such as ĽS- HZDS and SNS (The Popular Party- the Slovak Democratic Movement and the Slovak National Party). As Martin Urmanič, the future vice president of the party and the creator of the agenda and regulations, says: LIGA intends to fill in the gap in the middle of the Slovak political scene, to offer a new political vision, new people with positive professional history and thus weaken the influence of “political dead bodies from ĽS- HZDS and SNS that are like zombies having been revived by SMER- SD. “   
“LIGA wants to become the member of the group of the European liberal and Democratic parties (ELDR) which is the third strongest political fraction in the European Parliament. The Party expressed its wishes to continue in the liberal agendas of the Democratic Union and ANO. This is our priority.
The party will look for the cooperation with other political parties based on the common agendas, priorities and their opportunities to purse them in our society, “ said Mr Urmanič for Dimenzie Magazine.
If you review the Slovak history, the liberals gathered around Ľudovít Štúr were those who began awakening Slovak national awareness, to fight for political and national freedom in the former Austro- Hungarian Kingdom. Compared to ideologically obstructed and rigid parties, liberals have always been ahead in terms of their thinking. On the other hand, it is all about personalities and their abilities not only to pursue but also to protect universal values. It is true that Slovakia needs a real alternative to social democracy to benefit another national and civic progress. The parliamentary right opposition occurs in a deep moral and professional crisis. Social liberal (not the MPs), gathered around Mrs Martináková in Slobodné Fórum, are appeared to be puppets reminding of fog, they are of no potential and no chance to score. Discotheques and balloons seem to be more important than real politics. The registration of LIGA was supported by 15,000 citizens mainly in East Slovakia. Some of them belong to its two- thousand members. Let’s wish this party a successful start and wonder how they address the middle class and the citizens in the country.    


Europarkett floors known in Microsoft
These floors will last for hundred years if maintained properly. They represent high- quality German technologies and Slovak diligence, creativity and the system of anti- allergic and anti- asthmatic surface adjustment made of plant oils.
 
Róbert Matejovic
Photo: archive
High- quality three level and anti- allergic wooden floors branded as Europarkett have been produced in Zemianska Olča, a small village near Veľký Meder in the south- east of Slovakia for six years. The producer is a family company Europarkett, Ltd. that deals with wood processing. In 2003, the family bought a bankrupted and robbed factory having a thirty- year- old tradition of producing the wooden floors and wooden materials so that it tried to rescue the production, employment, to improve the quality and enlarge the range of goods and enter the west market.
 
“It all happened six years ago when I was forced to buy a bankrupted factory to earn back the money the factory had owed me for my wood supplies, “says Ing. Zdenek Tomčík. “First, the previous owners rented me the factory for one Slovak crown. At the time, the crucial production included manufacturing of simple wooden blocks mainly made of buck for German market and the operation supplied wooden material for various purposes. What irritated me most was that the factory was not moving forward, was not making money, was not enlarging its range of products and did not specialize on something that lacked in Central and East Europe, “Mr Tommie continues. He is a former mechanical engineer who managed to make profit after three months of having taken the factory over.
 
German Technology and Slovak sense
The perspective of a small family business was accepted by both the family and their 70 employees. His new factory was based on a new production programme of wooden blocks special laminate floors. The management faced the challenge- to form the opposition of low- quality and cheap import from Poland that flooded Slovakia and the European Union.
“We invested majority of money in the most modern German technologies that enabled us to reach the preciseness up to five hundredth millimetres and use licensed click- in system UNILIN for a simple mantling of wooden blocks. We were the first firm in Central and East Europe that began using this system, “ Mr Tomčík explains.
Almost 90% of their annual production is exported to Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We achieved that due to our know- how within a registered recipe for anti- allergic and anti- asthmatic surface adjustment made of various plant oils. Our attempts result in a specific Slovak product and Slovak brand which joins both high- quality of wood processing and services in the field of wooden blocks in the Slovak and European market. This brand is a symbol of Slovak diligence, hard work, and flexibility and Slovak design.
 
They use renewable and sustainable wood
“As a producer, we hold a certificate on processing the wood that comes from the areas with assured renewal of sustainable woods. It means that we purchase oak, jaseň, maple, birch, walnut, hraby wood and exotic wood only from such chain traders that buy wood from such areas, “Zdenek Tomčík continues.
In five years, the company has reached its top position and has become the biggest Slovak manufacturer producing 300 thousand m2 of wooden floors a year. Most of them are made of oak and in many colours. Our present range of products contains 80 different kinds of them. Faulty reach only one per mile. Most of our products are constructed to be suitable for flooring the room with floor heating. These floors will last for hundred years if maintained properly.
Although the global economic recession has influenced Slovakia, customers´ orders are two times higher than the capacities of production. The company management intends to strengthen its position in the Slovak market as well and extend its export in Balkan, Ukraine and the Russian Federation. They want to compete with cheap import mainly by their preciseness and durability of their products. The target groups are predominantly the owners of houses, flats, hotels entertaining and business centres.
 
Competitiveness
We introduced a brand ´Europarkett´ purposely. From the business point of view, it is presented by German quality and Slovak price. As we had wanted to enter the EU before Slovakia became its member, we used this brand so that is easy to be understood and accepted in the European zone. We had desired to cancel the borders at the time.
And how does this company differ from other reputable producers in Europe?, I ask Mr Tomčík who is also a leading personality of the East Slovak Commenda of Knight and Hospital Order of St Lazar from Jerusalem in Slovakia.
“The global economy gathers producers with a closely specified range of products and high volume of their production. We would not be able to compete with our volumes but only with our quality. Our way is to offer wide range of products and warehouse on wheel.” We have learnt to manufacture specialities. It is our protection against globalization. Our customer can buy everything at the same place, i.e. everything that exists in this segment of the market. We are flexible and capable to produce any woodblock within 14 days after pacing the order. Nevertheless, it takes big producers and sellers from two to three month to sort out their orders.”
 

Advantages of water power plant beneath Starhrad
A 12- metre- long water- fall, a water mill wheel, a boat lift and the eco- area with a bio- corridor and swaps are supposed to be the main attraction there. Thanks to that, the genuine predator- hlavatka might appear in the river Váh again.
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: Jozef Veselý, the archive
 
According to the obligatory nariadenie of the European Parliament passed at the end of the year 2008, the ratio of the renewable sources of energy in the production of electricity will have to reach the level between 33.6 and 40:4 % by the year 2020. Next year, the Member States have to submit their detailed action plans and after that, they will have to submit a report about the every single achievement every two years. It means that Slovakia will have to increase significantly the construction of renewable sources of energy by using no waste technologies; it will have to cut down on emissions dramatically and increase the savings of electrical energy. Does Slovakia have capital and investors to do so?
 
In case of ecological use of water in Slovakia there are very few companies that are ready and able to invest in construction of new water power stations. One of them is Hydrohrad Corporation, s.r.o., based in Žilina that wants to build an unusual power plant Starhrad on the river Váh near the villages of Nezbudská Lúčka a Strečno.
 

Graphic widow-pane
He belongs to the original painters who recognize the fine art expression diverting from the dominant mannerist trends. He was born in the town of Uljm in Vojvodina in Serbia (1957). He graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts at Beograd University, he specializes in graphics. He has had some collective and individual exhibitions in Serbia and abroad. He lives and works as a pedagogue in some schools in Subotica.
We offer you the wide selection of his latest 38 works which he has painted over the past years and introduced at the recent exhibition in the Modern Gallery “ Likovni Susret” in Subotica.
In his expressionistic expression, he shows his strength and firmness. At first sight, his pictures seem to be rather abstract, however, he leads the lines at the master level; he plays with them as an outstanding graphic designer so that he could bathe them afterwards in the most frequent blue color and create a unique window- pane in which there is every single element and thus all these elements create an amazing unit.

 

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