October 2005

Clever and Foolish
The Union searches for financial ´ modus vivendi´
How do you acquire support of your solutions and attitudes?
How does this Committee work? What does it judge?
Is the budget the only agenda of you Committee?
Is it the financial crisis of the European Union?
Fiľakovo Castle
Gloomy views
Turkish occupation in between 1554 and 1593
Battle of Castle
Golden Age of Fiľakovo
Elephants´ backs at the Adriatic
Kechnec lost MAN because of our politicians
Kechnec could have won
Prime Minister promised to help
The Trade Fair in Zagreb also showed the mirror to Slovakia
Cataclysm of Slovak dramatists
STV has a list of unwanted
Partial Šimečkos
No Slovak Drama?
Rock - Pop - Jazz
He is fascinated by a solo of the violoncello

Clever and Foolish
What the hurricaine Cathrine uncovered and flooded out in poor New Orleans, reminded me of the contemporary status of the Slovak political and cultural revolution which started in 1998. The mottos like ´we long for change´ and ´ it´s high time to change´ started the radical brain-washing about the responsibility, about a new quality of life or they began trading whatever they could sell or buy. The authors of such brain-washing ideas, i.e. architects and advertisers of a new philosophy of a so-called modern citizen, have already managed to fall out, ´get divorced´ and turn into fatal enemies. Goods have become the only value as well as a person able to make plenty of ´quids´ (money).
Young, elder and eldest human souls were striken very seriously by these words and phrases. Distraught souls, always being stressed by the permanent changes of political opinions, orientations and laws and living conditions, divided into two camps- ´clever´ and ´foolish´.
Clever ones were given high posts, successful career, membership in new political, privatization and reform groups or in clubs of unerring and great realizators of strange reform schedules. Their members understood very quickly that there is no point in blowing against the strong Euro- Atlantic wind or against a transparent, clear transformation of Slovakia, which had been planned by the World Bank or by the International Monetary Fund as a multi-level marketing after 1989. As long as it was able to give birth to the European Union, it might be capable with Slovakia as well? Reformators prepared neverending sequences of entertaining TV programs and series, Valentine´s, Halloween´s and pub´s parties which are supposed to complete and strengthen the education of a young generation so that clever ones could enjoy their geniality and modern life more and more. And what is a new generation about? They nod to everything, they sob, wow and wistle merrily. That is pretty enough to eat, drink, shout, and have sex like wild animals; actually, it would be even better live and for ´cheap´ text messages. Am I supposed to understand them? What for? They are just –house-trained monkeys who cannot express themselves, they shout and scream about a kind of face- to- face dialogues and about the faithfulness in relationships instead of philosophy, culture and literature. They are just poor slaves of money, the result of neglected parents´ education because it was them, who, with tears in their eyes, sent them there to earn some money. Maybe, they also enjoy the new quality of living and new responsible reforms, they do not need money and they do not have to make their kids to be goods or items in order to export genetic funds...
Are you saying that I should not be worried and that this period of a sick society will be over one day? Are you saying that Slovakia must end up and see the bottom of corruption and thus we will wake up from this horrifying dream and that we will move forward? Should I believe these hopes? Where did Europe or America go? They both were so Christian and ultraliberal or civil after the Second World War! Indeed! Yes, I know. Intellectual clubs, Church and left-winged parties have been left for fools. They have priests´ confessions or psychologists, political and anti-depressing meetings and talks about the cultural and spiritual heritage. Well, while talking about it, for example, foolish Christians remember the cultural and spiritual heritage without any pride or esteem and only once a year- on July 5. It is the only day when they think of works and values which were brought to Slovaks by Cyril and Method. I understand that most of them did not study history at school or they did not like it because of so many dates... But nowadays, they do not know whether they are Orthodox, Catholic or Greek- Catholic. They still listen to the heritage of Cyril and Method- what is an evidence that Slovaks belong to the west civilization. If it is so, why did Pope Stephen V. cancel works of these patrons of Europe and Slavs? Why did Maria Teresa form Greek Catholics? Why did the Habsburgs pursue Catholicism in their monarchy? Why did Hungarian nobles support protestants and the independance of the Hungarian Kingdom? Let´s talk about it! Maybe some time. Am I sceptic again? Oh, come on... Do you feel that the nation is developing like a nation or that the national culture is really our culture? We are searching for traces of Hlaholic language, where is it? In monasteries? Where was it used in Slovakia? How proud are we? Do we know that Hlaholic language of Great Moravia formed the base for the younger Croatian language? Do we know that there is a museum of this language in Rijeka? Let´s ask the question. Are Slovaks still Slavs? What does our national culture consist of? Aren´t we ´overburgered´and ´overketchuped´ already?
In the end, my experience. When I am abroad, my colleagues and people I meet always ask me: What is it –Slovakia? How do Slovaks differ from Czechs or Russians? What do you produce, apart from ´bryndza´(Not everone knows this cheese. It is famous in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic)? What would you tell them, dear readers?

Robert Matejovic, M.A.
Editor in Chief

The Union searches for financial ´ modus vivendi´
In case of the disagreement with the Budget, the EU can block the European Parliament during their final voting and force the state of budget provisory unless the agreement is reached, ´claims Sergej Kozlík, European MP and the member of the Budget Committee.

Mr. Sergej Kozlík is an experienced economist, former MP of the Slovak Parliament, Minister of Finances and Vice- Chairman of the Slovak Government. He works in the European Parliament in the Group of independent MP. He is a member of the Budget Committee and he is an alternate in the Committee for Economic and Currency Affairs. ´ The post of an independent member is not an obstruction in presentation of political opinions as well as specialist’s opinions. My colleague Irena Belohorská and I belong to those Slovak MP that participate in discussion very much. It enables us to present our attitudes and solutions, which we think are profitable for the development of Slovakia and the EU, at the particular extent, ´ claim this 55-year-old man from Bratislava. He is a graduate from the Economic University in Bratislava. He studied at the Faculty of Management with the specialization on economic and mathematical calculations.

Mr Kozlík, you consider yourself as Euro-realist. Does your position of an independent MP enable you to pursue politically neutral and specialized proposals? Or you position does not influence your work for the Budget Committee?
As all the democratic institutions of the parliamentary type, the European Parliament makes decision based on the principle of majority. None of the political fractions have majority and therefore many important decisions give rise to necessity of political negotiations. . In many cases, the final voting does not reflect the number of members and political attitudes of the individual fractions but it is a puzzle which usually reflects individual opinions of European MPs or more frequently the attitudes of their political parties. There are situations when only two or three votes decide about the result the result of voting in the parliament which consists of 732 members.

How do you acquire support of your solutions and attitudes?
What I appreciate most about the Committee I work for is the fact that the Committee puts first specialist’s viewpoint, realistic estimate and passability of submitted proposals and statements. Compared to the National Parliaments, which hare the final institution in the decision making process, decisions of the European institutions have a character of co- decision- making. Political edges are not as sharp as they are in the national parliaments. However, there are also tough situations in the European Parliament.

Independent MPs complain about insufficient help from the side of the parliament administration. Has the problem concerning lack of translators and interpreters been solved in the Committees and political fractions yet?
The language is the main issue at work of European MPs. It has nothing to do with better or worse MPs´ language knowledge as media and citizens think. There are twenty languages legally used to create norms having the forms of the Europeans laws in the European Parliament. The MPs from 25 countries are the translators, reporters, they judge and approve. All the proposals and texts of the approved norms and regulations must be available on the Internet to all the citizens of the Member States. Language accessibility is granted by the agreement which is the part of the acceptance of the cultural and language variability in the EU and it is our duty to insist on it.

General acceptation of the Budget Committee is narrowed in the field of judging the budget of the EU. The budget proposal is elaborated by the European Council and the European Commission. What are the Committee competences against Council and Commission?
One of the most powerful competences of the Parliament is the competence to make decisions in the area of budget relations. In case of the disagreement with the Budget, the EU can block the European Parliament during their final voting and force the state of budget provisory unless the agreement is reached that situation appeared in the Parliament last year. The statement of the Budget Committee as a grant committee determines and influences the attitude of the parliament in the particular phases of the budget process. The members of the budget committee usually represent the parliament during the negotiations within the budget processing.

How does this Committee work? What does it judge?
Judging and approving of the EU budget for the next year, is the main topic of our agenda of our Committee during the year, from February to December. In the first phase, it is a definition of expected sources of the EU based on the definition the future economic growth, development of GNP, income from VAT, the target and agricultural fees. The sources depend on them. In the next phase, liabilities and basic political targets of the EU are stated. It creates the frame for costs setting. These basic data are prepared by specialists from the European Commission by using the external statements from Eurostat, the European Central Bank and other institutions and these issues are discussed in the parliament and Council. The scheme of the budget proposal is submitted to the European Council and the Parliament and the Council uses it to elaborate the first proposal of the Union, which is submitted to the Parliament to be given a first reading. We are in this phase at the moment. After clarification of the statements and attitudes the Council prepares the second budget proposal which is given a final approval procedure in December of the particular year. During the whole process of preparation and two-round budget approval, there are negotiations (in order to reach an agreement) held: Their main aim is to bring closer the statements and attitudes and reach an agreement between the Council, Commission and the Parliament.

Is the budget the only agenda of you Committee?
No. There are many other important agendas of the Budget Committee, such as judging and approving of changes, shifts and appendixes in the realization of the budget throughout the year as well as the statements on the documents being discussed in other committees, i.e. those documents which have any consequences in terms of budget. The extraordinary is the judging the long-term financial views/ estimates- nowadays, concerning the years 2007 – 2013.

At the beginning of September, the Council introduced their 2006 budget proposal at the plenary in the form which had been approved by the Council of the Ministers of Finances of the 25 (ECOFIN) on July 15, 2005. Compared to the budget proposal elaborated by the European Council, it proposed to decrease the liabilities by 478 million. EURO up to 120 billion Euro and cost by 1.1 milliard Euro up to 111.4 MLD Euro. You said in the discussion that this proposal of the Council is a ´ cold shower´ and it does not give any space between the proposals of the European Commission and the European Council. Can you explain your opinion?
Compared to the previous years, the Commission submitted a very limited proposal of the 2006 Budget of the EU. Opposite the year 2005, it supposed the proposal for the liability increase by 4 % and 5.9 % in payments. Compared to the GNP, only 2 % share was estimated, what is far away from the top limit of the long-term financial perspective. The proposal of the 2006 Budget continues opening scissors between liabilities and payments but also the scissor between available funds of the national budgets and the EU budget. The lack of funds and sources for financing the key policies of the EU was the subject of very sharp criticism in the first phase of the budget analysis in our parliament. The range between the Commission and Council’s proposals is usually the space where the fight for the next year budget takes place. In case of liabilities presenting only 0.5 MLD Euro, in case of payments in the amount of 1.1 MLD Euro, it does not exceed a percent limit of the budget base. More detailed analysis of all corrections done in the Budget by the European Commission shows that 51 items were changed by the Council compared to 2005; majority of them were left unchanged as in the budget proposal by the European Commission. These changes undertaken by the Council because a serious impression of the technocratic costs reduction according to the saying: ´Let’s cut down to half everything what was going to be increased compared to the year 2005, ´ and another saying? ´Let’s cut down more on the places where the costs were going to be decreased compared to 2005. ´ The most criticized part of the Council proposal was the reduction of the funds in items which the MPs consider crucial in order to follow the goals of revised Lisbon Strategy and which are connected with the international political liabilities of the EU. As for example proposed reserves for liabilities of the agricultural policies (minus 150 million Euro), internal policies (minus 43.4 million Euro), and diplomatic services (minus 165 mil. Euro) and administration costs (minus 119 million Euros). So the cost for culture, research, information, small and medium enterprises and pre-adhesive strategy should be reduced by 127 million Euros

Is this proposal of the 2006 Budget determined only by the Ministers of Finances of the strong three (Germany, France, Great Britain) and it ignores the interests of small and mainly new Member States?
Germany, France and Great Britain are surely very influence players in the policy of the EU. Mostly in cases of mutual agreement. On the other side, many decisions of the EU still require the agreement of all Member States regardless their size, economic potential and number of inhabitants. Interests of the individual countries and of the individual political groups overlap in many different ways. Sometimes it is not possible to divide the states into small and big, into old and new Members, into attitudes of the European Populars- democrats and socialists. However, there are some cases when the division of interests and positions is obvious. It is the same with the critics of the Council concerning the issues of the 2006 budget construction, there are many differences and it is also influenced by MPs´ membership or non-membership in the governing political parties in their countries.

It is proposed to lower the liabilities and costs what is strongly criticized by the European socialists; it proves a king of stagnation of the EU which has not enough funds to cover the key policies of the EU?
The majority of the European MPs criticize the insufficient amount of funds for the development of science and research, small and medium entrepreneurships, structural and cohesive operations and funds for the foreign help. I suppose the Council and the Commission will have to deal with these issues more carefully.

Is it the financial crisis of the European Union?
I do not think so. I would rather characterize this situation as a long-termed search for ´modus vivendi´ between the interests of the national governments to handle with the as much amount of money as possible within their inner economic and social policies and between the necessities to finance common policy of the EU which is not clearly defined. In my opinion, it leads to the permanent decrease of share of the EU funds available on the GNP of the Member States. And also it open scissors between development of the national budget income of the EU budget and initiates the discussion about a new construction of funds and sources and expanses necessary for financing the policies of the EU.

At the beginning of September, the European MPs voted for the revision of the financial perspectives for the years 200- 2006 which focuses on the main target, i.e. to adjust to the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Regarding this reform, you plan to move some funds in the amount of 655 million Euro from the chapters of direct payments (1a) to the chapter of country development (1b). Some changes concern the chapter 2 called Structural Acts which should take the continuation of the program PEACE II into consideration in 2006. The goal of this program is the propagation of reconciliation and formation of a new stable society in Northern Ireland, which might have been stopped in 2004. Is this revision the result of British pressure put on decrease of costs in agriculture?
I think that it view is rather exaggerated and joins things that have nothing in common. The allocation of the finances as mentioned above is an internal allocation within this chapter and it is connected to the reform concerning the common agricultural policy passed by the Council in September 2003. This reform includes gradual limitation of direct payments in agriculture thus it puts the pressure on the more effective use of the soil and on the increase of the funds for the policy of country development. The aim is to reach better balance between the tools of the support of the sustainable and profitable agriculture and tools of the support and financing supplementary tools necessary for the country development. Just the procedures, which come from a past general agreement, are being realized. I consider the continuation of this financial tool for the support of reconciliation and formation of a new stable society in Northern Ireland as the expression of the general interest of the Member States to eliminate violence and instability directly in the territory of the EU.

The 2006 Budget procedure starts with the first reading given in the Parliament. It will be held at the plenary in Strasbourg in October this year (on the 27 October) and it will follow the results of the voting in the Budget Committee of the EU, which will take place at the beginning of October. Will it put pressure on the Council and Commission in order to revise their proposals if the voting is negative in the Budget Committee? Or this opinion will not be a reason for negotiations?
MPs declared their disagreement with the first budget proposal submitted by the Council in the Parliament. Predominantly, in terms of the assurance of the goals of revised Lisbon Strategy. The exploratory reports of the Budget Committee presented the same opinions too. The critics point out that the Council reduced of the amount of payments for the item – research by 429 million Euros in comparison with the Commission proposal what weakens the acceleration of the knowledge based development of the WU. The similar stagnation is registered in the educational programs Socrates and Leonardo. Financing of small and medium entrepreneurships decreased by 100 million Euros. The costs for trans-European networks, which should be one of the pillars of the economic growth and elimination of the regional differences, have been increased a little. At the moment, the first budget proposal is going through the individual committees supposing that the summary of critical opinions is presented at the plenary in October. It will be the base for negotiations that will precede the final elaboration of the 2006 Budget. The final version of the budget will be approved in December 2005.

You claim that the European Union has no ideal mechanisms and directions of funds available, neither there are any perspectives elaborated in economic and other policies for the next 10 or 20 years as for example Common Agricultural Policy. Is it a consequence of the lacking Treaty of Constitution which would defined the state, the subject of the international law? Who should elaborate and grant these mechanisms and perspectives?
The European Union has many institutions of a scientific character, which are equipped and are supposed to focus on the elaboration of those long-termed mechanisms and perspectives. There are many people employed and many outstanding specialists are addressed to cooperate with the European institutions as for example the Economic and Social Commission, Commission for the Regional Development, Eurostat, etc. It is the matter of the tasks given, it is necessary to define the requirement very clearly and supervise and control the outputs by the Council, Commission and the Parliament in order to achieve better use of these capacities. I do not think the improvement of the activities and coordination of these specific institutions requires passed Treaty of Constitution or the definition of the Union as a subject of the international law. It is only the matter of coordination of the managerial and information processes within the existing construction of the EU.

What do you expect in terms of the development of crisis concerning the 2007- 2013 budget?
It was caused by Britain and France in June this year. They discussed the British rebate or donation for French agriculture. Do you agree with British attitude to keep rebate dating back to 1984? The British do not want to lose their advantages- paying back the money from the budget. The French want to cancel this rebate but, on the other side, they do not want to limit costs for the common agricultural policy which presents 40 = of the EU budget. The conflicts between Great Britain and France concerning the budget perspectives for 2007- 2013 are only on the top of the problems that accompany this document. It is obvious that unbearable number of unsolved problems piled up in the system during the operation of the EU mechanisms. Many of them have a political background, many of them are of the permanent character but they all have the common denominator- performance decrease and they slow down the economic growth of the EU. Ineffective system of tools applied in the agricultural policy keep very low productivity in the name of sustainable agricultural production at very high social costs on the one side and the overcome rebate of the British on the other side- these are the most typical examples. If we have to find a suitable solution, both sides must make concession- they are aware of it. New pro- effective and non-discriminating rules must be defined and implemented in the field of agricultural policy. The British rebate must be given new rule and be reduced and eliminated continuously. This process will take quite a long time. The period between 2007 and 2013 might be sufficient involving a bit of goodwill and political courage.

The only result of the debate id Boge´s parliamentary budget proposal containing many compromises. However, British Presidency does not support it. What are the opinions of the Budget Committee on this proposal and on this issue? What do the Parliament and the Council suggest?
Regarding the 2007- 2013 budget perspective, the European Parliament took a plunge – they managed to get united in the first half of the year 2005 and pass the compromise proposal of this perspective. The original proposal was elaborated by the Commission chaired by Roman Prodi in 2004. It estimated the top cost level of 1.24 % of GNP. This proposal was accepted by the new Commission chaired by José Barosso. From the Council point of view, this proposal is not acceptable. In order to solve the situation, the European parliament managed to get together and passed the compromise proposal of this perspective and it relied on the more realistic position of the top payment funds in the particular years of the period between 2007 and 2013. It presents from 1.06 to 1.08 % of the GNP and liabilities in the amount between 1, 17 and 1.19 % of GNP. The parliament requires in its resolution so that the EU had enough fund to reach its political targets. Nevertheless, there are still conflicts in the Council. No agreement was reached during the Luxembourg Presidency. British Presidency hesitates over the proposal solution. Their idea of the top cost level is much lower than the ideas of the Parliament. It is obvious that the further development will be complicated and full of conflicts and it will be very difficult to find solutions.

The British have not informed yet about the proposal concerning the changes in the budget structure or about the budget reforms. They claim that will finish the discussion about the common budget frame at the end of this year. Do you find it as a correct approach towards the agreement? Moreover, Tony Blair declared that the revision of the financial perspectives will be held after the presidential election in France in 2007. Do you agree with it? Does it mean that the 2007 Budget will be discussed separately?
You need 25 members if you want to reach an agreement concerning the budget relationships. However, everybody has the right to express their opinions and ideas. It is a completely different thing, whether it is or it is not possible to reach an agreement on the 2007- 2013 budget perspective in a real time s that it was valid and applied in a real term. The future will give us the answer. If the long-termed budget perspective is not approved, it will weaken transparency and estimation of dealing with the fund of the EU. However, I do not think it might damage the whole system of the financing model in the coming years. If the agreement on a few-year model is not reached, then a one-year budget model will be applied preserving the basic parameters and constructions of the budget procedure. It would be applicable for the year 2007 as well.

On 30th August 2005, Prime Ministers of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary met. They together applied to the Member States and Great Britain as Presidency country to approve the common budget for the years 2007 and 2013 this year. They are afraid that it might slow down the development and competitiveness of the EU. And thus the use of the money from funds would be threatened. This appeal (supported by Barosso) appeared two days after the terrorist attack in London so Great Britain focused its attention to the home affairs. Four new Member States agreed on the fact that lack of time excludes the possibility of courageous reforms of allocation of the EU money. Do you support this political pressure of Visegrád group that has not said yet what it intent to do in case of British blockade of the approval of the common budget? Everybody has a right to express their opinion and it is good when at least a few counties are in accordance. However, the golden rule of the 25 is applied in the field of budget. The agreement of all 25 Member States on the long-termed financial perspective would mean a great leap for the EU.
The issue the quality of funds allocation is completely different issue. This question is far too identical with the question- what was the first a hen or an egg? Personally, I think that there is the answer for the question. But the question is not whether it is necessary to realize demanding reforms which are the base for the construction of the budget perspective or whether it is necessary to approve the budget perspective as a base for demanding reforms. The answer is it does not matter whether it is a long-termed budget perspective or the exact annual budget, it will always reflect the state of reforms and mechanisms on which the Member States were able to agree on. In case of new agreements, the budget perspectives will be formed in the same way as the 2006 budget parameters in the field of agriculture.

How do you perceive the approach of the Slovak Government to the proposed 2007- 2013 budget? Which items should they fight for more intensively? It is obvious that the sources and funds for the regional development, agriculture, small and medium entrepreneurships, and the environment are the crucial ones for the new Member States. Is Slovakia able to protect its needs and requirements?
European MPs´ basic approaches to the financial 2007- 2013 budget perspective are in accordance with those of the Slovak Government. It touches such delicate issues as the increase of funds for the financing concerning the closing down of the nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice, more flexible solutions for the realization of the cohesive policies where the rule N+ 2 is applied, i.e. the duty to use the funds in two years´ time. The same accordance is in the issues of financing VAT from the fund for the regional development and from the cohesive fund as well as the support of the same intensity of help per person and in the search at expense of 15 more developed countries of the EU.

Do you usually communicate with the Minister of Finances of the SR about these issues and what kind of position of Slovakia do you pursue in this field?
The communication between the MPs and the governmental and parliamentary institutions of the SR is being realized by a few newspapers. European MPs are addressed to participate in the negotiations of the Committee of the National Assembly of the Slovak Republic for the European Affairs but also take part in the discussions of the Committee for the European Integration. WE also communicate with the specialists from individual resorts and also with the individuals from the Ministry of Finances and Ministry of Economy of the SR. This coordination is becoming more intensive what it good and necessary.

Do you think that 702 million Euros is enough to close down the nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice as the total costs for its closing down have reached the sum of 6.5 MLD Euros?
The crucial mistake was- when in 1999, the Slovak Government did not resist the pressure put on them in order to close down the plant despite the fact the plant fulfilled all the criteria after large investments in its equipment. It was able to operate without any problems. The Government under-valuated the costs necessary to close the power plant down, over-valuated the financial help in the amount of 273 million Euros for the years 2007- 2013. Just compare it. At the same time, the EU will provide three times more money to the closing down of the nuclear power plant in Lithuania. Due to these reasons we will support a belated requirement of the SR for the continual help until 2013. However, it will be very difficult to pursue this complicated issue.

The Governments of the Members States are the most powerful in terms of implementation of the budget funds in a form of payments and in the structural funds. Does the European Parliament have any political tools which would put pressure on the governments and the Council in terms of more effective use of the funds available for the financing of the common policies of the EU? How does the Parliament use them?
There is a triangle of the competences in the EU- the European Council, Commission and Parliament. It has a specific character. The Parliament is the only institution having been voted by the citizens, it elects and suspend the President of the European Commission and The European Commission as such. It has no direct competences connected with the Council which consists of the representatives of the governments from the Member States. Therefore, the political tools that might be applied against the Council and its members are only indirect and are based on the medial presentation of the work in the parliament and medial evaluation of work and results performed by the Council and individual Governments. It is also connected with more effective use of fund, e.g. structural funds.

Fiľakovo Castle
Ten Begs operated in Fiľakovo which was a base for Turkish attacks in the Hungarian Kingdom for 39 years. In 1584, two thousand Christians of different age and sex were sold to slavery at the public market in Fiľakovo.

An image of Fiľakovo, situated on the Slovak-Hungarian boarder must cause a shock to both Slovak and foreign tourists visiting this town. It has only ten thousand inhabitants and damaged and chaotic architecture. It is poor, neglected and gives the impression of deserted and depressing town, which is overviewed by the ruins of a Middle-Aged castle standing on the 300-meter high rock. It is formed by the remains of the edge tuff line of the volcano crater of a maar type.

Gloomy views
Although the view of the castle offers wonderful natural scenery and you can see Šomoška Castle in the distance, we cannot avoid seeing other things. On the one side, you see blocks of flats mixed up with a few baroque and renaissance buildings (Secondary School, Town Hall) and Roman Catholic Church with Francis Monastery, Billa Supermarket with an untidy car park and lawns. From the second and third sides, you see gipsies´ cottages and small houses of poor people which rim the former area under the castle. They are very sad and depressing views evoking many pessimistic thoughts, disappointment and many questions which have not been answered yet. The key one is why, we are in the European Union, and we live in the 21st century and in the region that should be earning a lot of money from tourism. The second question is- when are the people going to wake up in this town? When are the going to do something about it? The self-government is crying over the lack of funds. We spoke to some inhabitants who told us that there is nobody to revive this town. And this town has such a rich history, but no present or future to be developed. It is very sad and hard to understand this statement because if they were more flexible in their thinking, there would be so much to revive, renew and present in a very attractive way. So judge it yourselves.

Turkish occupation in between 1554 and 1593
The oldest written notice about the town dates back to 1246. A strong castle with a village resisted Tatars´ attacks even at that time. Matúš Csák Trenčiansky was its first famous owner. In 1423, Fiľakovo as Oppidum Fylek was given town privileges. In the 16th century, Fiľakovo was a centre of crafts in the region. When Turks conquered the town in 1554, it became the part of the Ottoman Empire. It lasted for 39 years. Turks built the fortification system of the town, being led by Mustafa Sokoli, they built a mosque with a minaret, a Turkish spa, flower gardens and orchards, stables for caravans, shops, craftsmen’s workrooms, they improved castle water pipes, a well and a cistern. In 1556- 1557, Castle garrison consisted of 49 teachers, 177 riders and 89 Azabis- infantry soldiers. In 1568-69, there were 56 artillerymen, 109 riders and 87 free infantry soldiers (Azabis). Ten Begs operated in Fiľakovo which was a base for Turkish attacks in the Hungarian Kingdom for 39 years. In 1584, two thousand Christians of different age and sex were sold to slavery at the public market in Fiľakovo.

Battle of Castle
Caesar’s Austro-Hungarian troops being supported by troops of Hungarian nobles managed to begin a counter attack in 1593 when the Ottoman Empire was forced to fight at the other places. Caesar’s troops commanded by Kristof Tieffenbach started to besiege the town on November 19th, 1593. Begs Kara Ali, Zulfikar and Osman came to help with their troops and on the other side, Mikulas Pálfy arrived to help Caesar’s troop with his 7000 soldiers. 4000 soldiers of infantry attacked the castle after an artillery preparation. However, Turks stroke off the attack regardless many dead victims. Finally, they withdrew their troops to the upper castle where they capitulated on 27th November 1593. After Turks had left, 300 Turkish families decided to stay and soon they assimilated with the original inhabitants.

Golden Age of Fiľakovo
The 17th century was the most glorious period in history of Fiľakovo. The castle became the centre of Novohrad, Heves and Pest Counties and it had famous captains such as Tomas Bosnyák, František Vesselényi (Hungarian Palatine) and Stefan Koháry II. The military and political importance of the town was growing all the time. All nobles hid there, having escaped from endangered areas, and not only the Congregation of Novohrad Ranks assembled there but also Congregations from Heves, Pest, Szolno and Csongrad Counties. This period can be characterized as by the fights and struggles between powerful group in the Hungarian Kingdom and leaders of Uprisings against Habsburgs, such as Stefan Bocskai (1557- 1606), Gabriel Bethlen (1580- 1629) and Juraj Rákoczi (1593- 1648). In contradiction, the town was flourishing as the capital of Novohrad. There was an Evangelic Secondary School, developed crafts and guilds. There were also four sacral buildings as it can be proved by many engravings and old plans: a massive protestant church with two towers and a rectory, a Roman Catholic Church with a rectory and Francis monastery, two Turkish sacral buildings, two spa buildings, a town hall and landlords´ residence, three schools and a secondary grammar school.


Elephants´ backs at the Adriatic
Kornaty looks as if it belonged to another planet from the aeroplane. It is a magnificent view indeed. It is an attraction or the coat of arms of the local tourism. Labyrinths of canals, canyons, bays full of sailing boats, yachts, motorboats or cruising boats.

The legend says: ´ When God had created the world, he had still a few white stones left. He threw them into the sea and then he turned round to see whether an outstanding work had been completed. ´ He must have been satisfied. The Kornaty Islands were allegedly formed this way. It is the greatest and the most spectacular group of islands situated in the Adriatic Sea. Actually, it is the most broken group of islands in the entire Mediterranean.




Kechnec lost MAN because of our politicians
The Slovak Government caused damage to the economic interests of the Region of Košice this summer. Ministers representing SDKÚ, KDH, and ANO look as if everything was all right. Dzurinda, Prime Minister is quiet. We are wondering who they want to bring to the industrial park in Kechnec and what state stimuli they intent to use. However, the question is whether the Slovak budget still has enough finances to support large investments and whether it has not been overdrawn due to cars companies, i.e. Kia Motors in Žilina and PSA Peugeot /Citroen in Trnava.

The region of Košice has lost a big investors, ´ thanks to´ our Government. It was the same as in case of the Region of Nitra, SDKÚ and KDH desired to be in charge of the region and influence investors through state donations and thus earn some positive political marks. There is no other explanation just the fact that the lacks of rules according to which investors are provided with state support. The Ministry of Economy of the SR has not submitted them to the Government and suddenly the Ministers from KDH and SDKÚ did not support the amount of financial support and the investment agreement with South- Korean Company Hankook tire. The company wanted to build a plant for 500 million Euros producing 5 million tyres a year. This contract was elaborated based on the approved memorandum between the state and the investor. The coalitional government had no objections! The following crisis and fight for the amount of donation (stimuli), the conflicts of the two ministers, Ivan Mikloš, Minister of Finances and Pavol Rusko, suspended Minister of Economy, cause damage to the industrial park in Kechnec. There were only two companies in the tender- Polish city of Strachowice near Krakow and German company MAN.

There could be another concern, in this case German company, in Kechnec, along with American-German Company Getrag Ford Transmissions. MAN Company specializes on the production of truck and Lorries as the industrial park in Kechnec belonged to 19 applicants. However, the summer crisis blacked the preparation of the memorandum of understanding and consequently the investment contracts with MAN concern, which was supposed to be judged by the investor. The investor did receive no memorandum or contract proposal, so it chose Poland in August this year. Due to this fatal mistake of the Slovak politicians, Slovakia lost the investment in the amount of 90- 100 million Euros, the production of 15000 trucks and 750 work places in the first phase of the investment. This opportunity as well as a few- month attempt of the Mayor of Kechnec, work of SARIO Agency and people working at the Ministry of Economy (they had gone through a few meetings with the German investor)were suddenly swept off the table and thrown into the rubbish. What it rather interesting is the fact that the Government had no problems to approve stimuli of a few milliards for the companies KIA motors in Žilina and PSA Peugeot / Citroen in Trnava? When they were approving them, they were not talking about the rules so inevitable for stimuli provision and their effective use…

Kechnec could have won
´ We worked very hard on this investment for year and a half. The Representatives of the car company visited us a few times; we showed them everything we were able to provide. A decision was entirely up to them. Hardly anybody could offer such conditions as we were able to. If we had succeeded, it would have been an excellent impulse for the development of the whole region. The total investment would have reached a few milliards crowns and 7500 people would have been employed, ´said Jozef Konkoly, Mayor of Kechnec (NEKA- Independent Candidate). He managed to build up one of the most perspective industrial parks in Slovakia. According to the official statement of MAN, the company had chosen Poland due to some reasons, including legislative and political ones, and also due to the infrastructure and further development. Jozef Konkoly revealed that the victory of Kechnec was more than expected. ´A month before the final decision was made, the President of Man visited Kechnec. They negotiated with Minister Pavol Rusko. After their meeting, former Minister Rusko called me and asked me to start with preparation works and began to purchase the fields of 150 hectares. I initiated the whole process and I sorted out almost 50 % of land. After the crisis in coalition, the state pays the owners some extra money in Žilina, but no more money was paid in Kechnec. The land was collected at the expense of Kechnec. ´

Prime Minister promised to help
In summer, Mayor Konkoly asked the Prime Minister and Minister of Finances for a general state support within the standard discounts and donations in order to create jobs required by German investor. He could not tell us the exact price as the state and the Ministry of Economy are authorized to do so. ´ When Minister Mikloš went on business to Košice, he stated that the representatives of MAN visited him as well. He told me it was a good project. I needed his support as Eastern Slovakia needed such as investment. The only difference was that compared to Žilina or Trnava, the investment stimuli would be 70 % cheaper, so the German project was much cheaper. The amount of investment was much lower by the costs for infrastructure as MAN would have used all nets used by Getrag Ford Transmissions. The Government would have had to invest only in the motorway from Košice to Hungary, schools, flats and health care. When I was discussing it with Prime Minister Dzurinda, he promised to do his best in order to attract MAN Company, ´ Mayor of Kechnec continued.

The Trade Fair in Zagreb also showed the mirror to Slovakia
´ The World Bank evaluation concerning entrepreneurial conditions is not absolutely true and I as Croatian Prime Minister do not accept it, ´ Ivo Sanader, Croatian Prime Minister stated. Diplomats´ Managerial skills are very important for the economy. Therefore, Croatian and Slovak producers hope a new ambassador of the SR, who is being expected in Croatia these days, to be such a personality.

Zagreb was mentioned as a trade centre in 1212 when Belo IV, Hungarian King assigned Gold Bulla to the town and pronounced it a royal town with a privilege to organize fairs. ´ Zagrebački velesajam´ is the name of the fair in Zagreb which dates back to the year 1946.

´ The 81st International Zagreb Fair have fulfilled the expectations this year. It was the central economic event in the country and throughout South East Europe; ´ said Juraj Centner, Deputy of C.E.O. of the Fair in Zagreb. 85,658 visitors had already visited the pavilions the day before the end of the fair. 35 thousand businessmen (out of which 8 per cent were from abroad) took part. The management of the fair was satisfied with the achieved financial results that reached the last year level of 17 million Croatian Kunas. From 13th to 18th September 2005, 1750 exhibitors from 40 countries (out of which 789 foreign and 961 domestic exhibitors) exhibited on the area of 92,000 square meters. There were more then 20 specialized events organized. More than 2000 participants took part. Mr Milan Bandič, Mayor of Zagreb, opened the fair. He represented Stjepan Mesić, Croatian President. President Mesić emphasised in his letter that the Pre-integration economic programme is being elaborated and it will be used during the negotiations with Croatia about its integration to the European Union.



Cataclysm of Slovak dramatists
There are many films captured in safes of Slovak Television. They are of a great value, of some ten millions. Najdlhšia Strecha úniku (The Longest Roof of Escape) by Osvald Záhradník for 32 years. Slovakia is not a country of freedom and dramatic authors are the citizens of a second rank. The American democratic institutions deserve being informed about this fact as they provide their money.

I am standing in front of you as your dramatist and screen play writer after 30 premiers of the so-called Freedom. An old Chinese legend is being told- If only we lived in more interesting times!

The page number 139 of Egon Bondy´s mistaken book called ´About Globalization´ reads - American futurologists expect decrease of the number of languages from today’s 2000 down to 400. This author warns against globalization and declares socialism the idea of the future. Languages used by small nations will survive only on the internet and in the virtual communities. However, it will last only for as long as their importance will last. The national literature can and might develop this unique value. If it accepts its new virtual space, a completely new and very cheap medium.

We are facing another threat as well. Nora Krausová pointed at it in our elite magazine. Sloterdijk´s theory explains anti-human attacks even against small nations. On the other hand, the European Union builds up a knowledge- based society and supports diversity and multi- culture. We do not use these opportunities- neither euro- funds nor internet. Almost a million of Slovaks plays computer games and thousands of them use the Internet every day. However, there is no icon to click on- no magazines on literature, texts. There is no high-quality information written in English. The Literature Information Centre accepted a part of my proposal of the Slovak Literature Server and it does what it is able to. Thanks goodness we have this at least! Neither Slovak nor English reader can spend the free time reading authors they have chosen. Moreover, there is no chance to search for them. The SME Daily used to have a few lines about Jozef Kota on the Net. His son-in-law Fulmek is a co-owner of this privatized Smena and the only line was dedicated to Milan Rúfus- the information that he was born in Závažná Poruba. We appeared like our forests of the High Tatras- in the wasteland which is more than serious. Slovak literature got to the enemy´ s territory, Ján Tužinský wrote. I will state only few examples of cataclysm of Slovak dramatists.

STV has a list of unwanted
We live in very interesting times. From 35 authors of the only representative is a book by Miloš Mistrík Sto slovenských hier, živých aj mŕtvych (A hundred Slovak Games) premiered by Stano Štepka. If you think that he is satisfied about the situation in Slovakia, you should have heard his description of his cooperation with Slovak Television which he expressed in the play Návod na použitie (Instructions). The play ends up with an exclamation- ´Rybníček do rybníčka´ (Rybníček into the pond; Rybníček is the general director of STV, rybníček means pond in Slovak language. It is a pun.). There are many films of captured in safes of Slovak Television. They are of a great value of ten millions. Najdlhšia Strecha úniku (The Longest Roof of Escape) by Osvald Záhradník has been in the safe for 32 years. Neither Mečiar´s supporters nor his opposites resisted the temptation to censor the comedy Lúpež dejín (Burglary of history) which we wrote with Mr Drgonec, an MP. The most expensive Slovak film Ako dive husi (Like wild geese) cost about 38 million and its premier is forbidden. Drama Company of the Slovak National Theatre did not revive either Lahola or Karvaš (drama writers); they did not finish his uprising trilogy. Špitzer forbade Lahola´s works in the 1950s and none of his plays have been performed since then. Director Jamrich together with Dramaturge Porubjak hid the damage of the censored Kočan´s play Diabol (Devil) in the accounts. The damage reached the amount of 450,000 Sk. They will play it one day, do not forget it. Solovič´s TV series was totally damaged. If it is true, Ján Solovič might win a court and earn enormous honorary or he might be paid damages. While the Czech Television broadcasts their films from the archives, STV has a list of unwanted films and authors. In fact, one generation of authors have been crossed out. Nowadays, only the competitions for young authors are held. It is discrimination and laws are broken. Films in safes did not attract our MPs or the European Parliament.

Partial Šimečkos
STV is managed by a person who worked for IVO; STV Council is led by a man who worked for IVO and annual reports about the status in Slovakia without film censoring, it is elaborated for the money of American democrats IVO, the Institute for the public relations. Mr. Bútora and Mesežnikov used American democratic money to too create totality non-pluralistic structure of media power where the execute and supervising powers belong to a small group of intolerant people. Slovakia has no freedom and dramatists are people of the second rank. Te American democratic institutions deserve to be informed about this fact because of the money the pay. IVO does not answer the questions about the films in safes, so I sent my questions to the Minister of Culture applying for the renewal of the Festival of Slovak plays called FISH. Dome officers have responded to my letters claiming that they see many crimes in these documents. What id good as the law obliges them to lodge a complaint? Our works are imprisoned without having been sent to trial. We will apply Mr. President to grant the amnesty for both alive and dead. In the 1950s, the publishing prohibition lasted 10 years. Then Comrade Bacílek decided that it was enough. The situation is the same as in the 1930s, 1950s or 1970s. Are Stalinists and their intolerant children involved in it? Simply said whoever-they-are Šimečkos.

No Slovak Drama?
We are living in very pathetic times. As you can see, I do not believe the organizations which should care for it- mostly PEN. I have been excluded from there for ten years as I kicked away Peter Pišťanek who called for renewal of the concentration camps and was proud of fascism in public but also STV Council or some other council. I do not believe them and I try to test silence and being quiet of the establishment about the cataclysm of Slovak dramatists including small forms of stage performance and folk. If they had to do their professions for living, they would have died of hunger. Apart from its hostile non-European financial area, it has its media form. Yesterday, the special awards were given to the authors of scientific books. Almost 100 people achieve scientific success on both national and international levels every year. One successful scientist can speak on TV every third day. However, it is only a statistics. Jaro REzník pointed out that the government managed without writers even in the European campaign. There is another medial commodity that can get you on TV. There is no point in writing anything. Slovak community and 64 counties. Slovak and Hungarian neo- fascists, who are being helped by Bela Bugár, are advertised on STV very much. This is exactly like the beginning of the war in Yugoslavia stirred by media. Slovak dramatists no, neo-fascists- no. Not for Christian and human values- our drama does not know different values. No performance was shown at the Slovak National Theatre to remember the 60th anniversary of the Slovak national uprising last year. There is no drama- thus sounds the racist axiom pronounced by Martin Porubjak. The Drama Institute (Divadelný Ústav) and the Drama Festival in Nitra put this axiom in practice. The Festival is managed by Darina Kárová, a passionate Czechoslovak lady, so we have no chance of exporting Slovak drama. No comments are made upon works of the Slovak theaters. Mrs. Hroncová (SMK) manages the Drama Institute. Ii will stop at nothing including stealing. She has not been able to pay me for the text, which she stole from me four years ago, sometime in 2001. The authors of hundred Slovak plays and many others, even screenplay writers are on the list of unwanted artists. I suggested the National Memory Institute (Ústav pamäti národa) to establish such a fund. We will see. We do not use the Internet and thus we lose media background. Slovak drama cannot live and survive without television and stage. It is cataclysm and disaster for it. I find the Drama Festival in Nitra like a concert in the concentration camp. Slovak literature will survive but it appeared among its enemies. I am afraid it is our key topic these days. Well, we did not deserve so many interesting things to happen, didn’t we? I briefly suggest: Let’s protest against fascists´ media advertising on our public STV.

(Contribution to a discussion held at the Assembly of Slovak Writers´ Association, West Theatre, 13/09/2005. Titles- Dimenzie)

Rock - Pop - Jazz
A unique exhibition began in Katov dom in Trenčín and it will finish in Prague in May 2006.

Thirty- four authors are presenting their photographs of music at the International Exhibition called Rock- Pop- Jazz (The second year). ´ In the Photography 2´ was opened in the exhibition area of the historic Katov Dom (Executioner´s House) under the Castle of Trenčín on 19 August 2005. There are almost 130 photographs having character of documentaries, through pictures of actions from concert stages up to arranged fine art depiction of the topic in the picture. The exhibition offers a colourful mosaic of the attractive world of music dating from the 1970s up to present days.

There are many portraits of many outstanding jazz and rock personalities there. The works of James Mc Kenn, an American artistic photographer and of the legend of the 1970s, British reporter Ian Dickson are exhibited there. I. Dickson is famous for his cooperation with reputable music periodicals such as New Musical Express, Q, Rolling Stone, Disc, Record Mirror, etc. A new Slovak project of drummers was introduced at the informal part of the exhibition. It is called ´ Metal goes to jazz- jazz goes to metal. ´ Two musicians prepared it. They are Martin Kodo, a sixteen-year-old student of drums at the Conservatory in Žilina and a drummer of a hardcore- metal band called Gulliver´s Band and experienced musician Jano Babič, a drummer of the jazz bands from Bratislava called Vlado Vizár Jazz Quartet a Traditional and Revival Band. Trio- Ľubor Martin Mikrostar, the lyrics writer of the band from Trenčín called ´ Bez ladu a skladu´ of Ľubor Benkovič, had their first mini-concert there. The Internet musical magazine Music Revue prepared the exhibition in cooperation with the Museum in Trenčín.
The collection of photographs will move to Bratislava, Partizánske, Zvolen, Dolný Kubín, Martin, Liptovský Mikuláš and the exhibizion will end in Prague in May 2006. You can find more information on www.music-revue.sk/exhib.htm

3 X AD LIBITUM For ANTON JARO
Personalities of the Slovak Jazz Scene
I do not know whether I perceived music from its artistic side at that time, but I remember me as a young boy sitting next to the radio and listening to music. I preferred pop and jazz music that was broadcasted then. I was fascinated by music by big orchestras- Gustáv Grom´s orchestra and Karol Krautgartner´s orchestra. I would listen to them for long hours but I also admired Gott, Pilarová, and Olmerová. I grew up with the music programme called ´ Na houpačke´ (On the swing) led by the siblings Černýs. Moreover, my father was an amateur musician who played a few musical instruments and my mother sang very well.



He is fascinated by a solo of the violoncello
´ Bach is Shakespeare of music for me, so I think he is the base for music of literature. When I interpret Bach, there is no place to hide so playing his music is a difficult exam for me. The interpreter is totally naked, ´Jozef Lupták, a violoncellist, reveals his perception of Bach- a composer- genius.

His talent, love to music, assiduity and patience earned him his reputation at rather young age. He was admired not only by lovers of high-quality music at home but also abroad. He plays with his hands as well as with his heart. Hardly any musical events and concerts of a great importance (for example Festival of Music in Bratislava) or other festivals of classical music manage without Jozef Ľupták. He has won the competition of Slovak conservatories three times. He plays solo or as a chamber musician. He cooperated with a few professional orchestras as for example the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovak Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra of the Slovak Radio and the State Philharmony in Brno.

You chose a violoncello in your professional career. Why this musical instrument?
The violoncello was my mother’s favourite musical instrument and she influenced me so much. My interest in music began very early- mostly in drums and piano. At that age, I hardly knew anything about the violoncello; I just had an opportunity to listen to s big beat band. Despite that, I started playing the violoncello. My first teacher made me love this instrument and music written for it. Her name was Alica Gerhardtová (Laco Gerhardt’s wife; a departed jazz pianist).





 

February 2020Slovakia is being destroyed not by the virus...
Pillar of the Košice - City Science Project
Victory in the Name of God
“Ghost Town”
Covid-19 will not defeat China
How do you comment on the EC approach to the Covid-19?
From Versailles to Munich (Part I)
Psychiatrists have also "nested" in the judiciary
When drugs a...Read more