Slovakia. During the NATO bombing war against Yugoslavia in the spring, Slovakia made its airspace available to NATO’s plan and allowed transit through ground transports of troops and military equipment. Visit Countryaah official website to get information about the capital city of Slovakia. Slovakia believed that this gave the country the right to NATO security guarantees and, by extension, full membership in the defense organization.
In May, Rudolf Schuster was elected Slovakia’s new president. It was the first time President was elected by universal suffrage. Schuster was the leader of the Citizens Understanding Party (Strana obèianskeho porozumenia, SOP), a center party, at least of the four government parties. He was the coalition’s joint candidate and received 57.2% of the vote in the second round, against 42.8% for the controversial former Prime Minister Vladimir Mečiar.
To try to prevent the economic downturn and the fall of the currency, the government decided during the summer on budgetary tightening, a VAT increase and increased energy and water prices. Mečiar called for demonstrations, and in September about 40,000 people in Bratislava participated in a union-organized protest against government policy and for Mečiar.
The difficult situation of the Roma in Slovakia came into European focus during the year, when thousands of Slovak Romans fled to a number of Western European countries, including Finland. The Slovak government rejected their information on persecution, but acknowledged that the Roma live in difficult economic and social conditions.
Slovakia succeeded in reaching a settlement with the Czech Republic in November on the financial transactions since Czechoslovakia was dissolved in 1993. The Czech Republic will return four and a half tonnes of gold to Slovakia and in addition write off debts to the value of approximately SEK 8 billion.
Slovakia promised during the year that the reactors in the aging Bohunice nuclear power plant will be closed in 2006 and 2008. The EU had pushed for far earlier decommissioning but still welcomed a decision to close.
In December, the EU decided that Slovakia should start negotiations on membership in the Union in early 2000, a long-awaited message for the government in Bratislava.