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Country profile for Slovakia

Provided Courtesy of Security Exchange 24

Risk Rating

Unselected
Red (High Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are dangerous.

Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

Unselected
Amber (Moderate Risk) InTouch advice:

Some parts of the country are dangerous.

Travel with caution.

Green (Low Risk)
Green (Low Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are safe.

Travel freely.

General Information

  • Capital: Bratislava
  • Major Languages: Slovak
  • Currency: Euro
  • Timezone: GMT +1:00

Country Map

Map of Slovakia

Slovakia became a member of the EU in 2004 and joined the Eurozone in 2009.  The country has one of the fastest economic growth rates in the EU and there are limited security concerns facing visitors to the country. Due to Slovakia’s limited involvement in Iraq there terrorist threat is increased.  However there have not been any reported incidents and the country are not considered to be a high-profile target.

Crime rates are relatively low in Slovakia with petty crimes, such as pick-pocketing and bag-snatching the most likely to affect foreigners.  The risk of petty crime is increased in major urban areas, especially on public transport and around areas of tourism.  Visitors should remain vigilant and undertake standard safety precautions.

Alerts for Slovakia

Protests held against government corruption

Anti-government protests took place on Thursday and will continue today in several cities across Slovakia against government corruption, and to demand an independent investigation into the death of a journalist.  Jan Kuciak and his fiancee were shot in a suspected contract killing in Bratislava in February.  Mr Kuciak had been working on an investigation into the alleged misuse of European Union funds and government links to the Italian mafia.  Previous protests led to the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, who both deny any wrongdoing.   Demonstrators are also keen for a change to the law to prevent the interior minister from naming his successor in order to ensure an impartial investigation into the journalist's killing.   

President accepts PM Fico's resignation

Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska is set to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico. The PM offered to quit due to mounting criticism of the government sparked by the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak. "I proposed that in order to solve the political crisis I am ready to resign as prime minister," Mr Fico told a televised news conference. Earlier this week the junior coalition party Most-Hid threatened to withdraw from the government unless new elections were scheduled.

Interior Minister resigns over journalist's death

Interior Minister Robert Kalinak has resigned following anti-government protests in Bratislava on Friday, amid a political scandal caused by the murder of a journalist and his partner.  Jan Kuciak's final unfinished article was published after the pair were murdered two weeks ago in an apparent contract killing.  The subject of the article was the infiltration of the Italian mafia into Slovakian politics and implicates a number of people close to the Prime Minister, Robert Fico.  Kalinak's resignation was the third in a matter of weeks.

President calls for government reshuffle after journalist's killing

President Andrej Kiska has called for a government reshuffle or even new elections to rebuild public trust, following the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner last week.  Prime Minister Robert Fico disagreed and said that the president does not have the power to dissolve a government, and that any such action would undermine the result of the 2016 elections.  Kuciak was writing an article about allegations that Italian businessmen with ties to an Italian mafia syndicate had settled in Slovakia and embezzled EU funds for years.  The article was unfinished, but was published posthumously.  Seven men were arrested in connection with the murders but were released for lack of evidence.  One of those arrested had a record of business deals with Mr Fico and his advisors.  

Prime Minister offers €1m reward in journalist murder case

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is offering a one million euro reward for information about the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his partnere who were shot dead at their home on Sunday.  An unfinished article by the 27-year-old was published overnight, linking the Italian mafia to high-level political corruption in the country.  

Journalist and partner murdered in Velka Maca

An investigative journalist and his partner have been shot dead at the weekend in their home town of Velka Mica, in an attack suspected of being connected to his work.  27-year-old Jan Kuciak had been working on an article about an alleged tax fraud in relation to luxury apartments.  Interior Minister Robert Kalinak was criticised about business dealings with a property developer last year, although he denied any wrongdoing and the case was dropped.  Prime Minister Robert Faco convened an emergency meeting with security chiefs, saying that if the murders were connected to the journalists' work, it would be an "unprecedented attack on freedom of speech and democracy in Slovakia".  Like many other ex-communist countries, Slovakia had to enact far-reaching law and justice reforms in order to qualify for EU membership. 

Slovakia in talks to buy new fighter jets

Slovakia's defence ministry reported on Friday that it was currently in talks to buy either Swedish Gripen or American F-16s fighter jets to replace its' ageing Russian fleet. Jaroslav Nad from the Slovak Security Police Institute said that the F-16s are more expensive and would take until 2023 to be deliverd, but either way, the maintenance contract they have with Russia for its' 12 MiGs would remain in place beyond its' 2019 deadline. Slovakia is due to spend around $65 billion to modernise its' military by 2030.

EU court rejects challenge to fixed migrant quotas

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has rejected challenges to the fixed migrant quota introduced in 2015. Hungary and Slovakia both issued formal objections to the compulsory migrant relocation deal and Hungary has refused to accept any migrants since the fixed quota was brought in at the peak of the migrant crisis two years ago. The deal was originally arranged to relieve the pressure on frontline countries, such as Italy and Greece. The Czech Republic and Romania also objected to the quota; however, Hungary and Slovakia took the case to the ECJ, citing procedural mistakes and a lack of suitability as a response to the crisis. According to the BBC, the ECJ dismissed the objections, supporting the establishment of the deal by stating that the quota "contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migrant crisis and is proportionate"

Thousands march in anti-government rally in Presov and Zilina

Thousands of students marched on the streets of Presov and Zilina on Monday in renewed anti-corruption rallies. In Zilina, western Slovakia, protest organisers underlined their intention to collect 100,000 signatures in their call to remove Interior Minister Robert Kalinak and Special Prosecutor Dusan Kovacik from office. Both politicians are blamed over their links to a notorious VAT and bribery schemes involving the government. Previous marches broke out in the capital Bratislava, but it has recently spread nationwide.

Thousands launch anti-corruption march in Bratislava

Thousands of students gathered in Bratislava's Hviezdoslav square in an anti-corruption march on Tuesday. The main demand of the protesters is the prosecution of those being investigated in the Bastenark - involving the government, including Interior Minister Robert Kalinak into VAT fraud - and Gorilla - a long-standing bribery scheme regarding foreign privatisation contracts - cases. 

Seven dead in mid-air collision of two planes

At least seven people have been killed after two planes collided near a village in western Slovakia, officials said. Media reports suggest there were about 40 people on board both aircraft. The incident took place near the village of Cerveny Kamen at about 08.30 GMT, Zuzana Farkasova, a spokeswoman for Slovak firefighters said. An ambulance and at least three helicopters were deployed to the crash site, Andrej Hirjak, a spokesman for the rescuers said. The seven victims were confirmed by the Slovak Interior Ministry.

Slovakia Data Sheet

Population:
5.4 million
Major Religion/s:
Christianity
International dialing code:
+421
International dialing prefix:
00
Emergency services:
112
Drives:
Right
Voltage:
230V
Climate:
Continental
Ohter Major Cities:
Kosice
Borders:
Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary