Until 1989, Slovakia’s industries employed two-thirds of the labor force. The weapons and metals industries were among the most important industries, as well as the manufacture of chemicals. As the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist with the fall of the Soviet Union, the weapons factories were shut down and the importance of industry to the economy diminished. During the years 1990–1995, production fell sharply and then accelerated again, not least because of the investments made by car and electronics manufacturers who saw the potential in utilizing the knowledge of the now-dormant metal industry.
During the first decade of the 2000s, car production became the most important industry branch and in 2008 accounted for one third of industrial exports. German Volkswagen, French Peugeot-Citroën and South Korean Hyundai all have large, newly built factories in Slovakia, which has made the country the world’s largest car manufacturer per inhabitant.
The manufacture of electronics has also grown. South Korean Samsung has introduced its European production hub to the country and Japanese Sony, among others, has built Europe’s largest flat screen TV factory. In 2011, Sony sold all of its manufacturing in Slovakia to Taiwanese HTC. In 2011, the industry accounted for just over a third of GDP and employed an equal share of the labor force.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Slovakia. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Slovakia’s largest trading partner is other EU countries, most notably Germany, which in 2011 accounted for about a fifth of both exports and imports.
The most important export goods are machinery, vehicles, transport equipment, semi-finished products and electronics. Oil and natural gas are mainly imported from Russia.
The increased wealth in the country during the first year of the 2000s led to growing imports, which created a deficit in foreign trade. However, this was offset by the high direct investment from abroad during the same period. Thanks to the rapidly expanding automotive and electronics manufacturing with increased exports, the trade deficit in 2009 was turned into a surplus which also continued in 2010–2011.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 90 198 million (2018)
US $ 90 107 million (2018)
– US $ 2,614 million (2018)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
177 percent (2018)
Main export goods
machinery and transport equipment, semi-finished products, electronics
Largest trading partner
Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, France
Slovakia can offer tourists a magnificent nature with good opportunities for winter sports, including in the Tatra Mountains. Here are famous health resorts such as Piešťany. The capital Bratislava and several other cities have beautiful central parts with old buildings.
Tourism is of limited economic importance to Slovakia. In 2011, tourism revenues accounted for 2.4 per cent of GDP and the sector employed 6 percent of the labor force. The number of visitors was 1.3 million in 2010. Although the number of tourists is increasing, the development is somewhat hindered by the fact that the hotels are too few and too expensive. Most tourists come from the Czech Republic and Germany.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
US $ 2800,000,000 (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
3.4 percent (2016)
Parliament supports crisis fund
The Slovak Parliament gives the euro zone’s new crisis fund ESM its support. 118 out of 150 members vote for support to the ESM.
Pavol Frešo new leader for SDKU-DS
SDKÚ-DS selects a new party leader. Pavol Frešo takes over after Mikuláš Dzurinda.
Smer-SD forms government
Smer-SD forms government under Prime Minister Robert Fico. The country thus gets its first one-party government since 1993.
Smer-SD largest in parliamentary elections
Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) wins more than 44 percent of the vote and receives 83 out of 150 seats. The four former government parties make a poor choice: SDKÚ-DS, receives just over 8 percent of the votes (16 seats), KDH about 6 percent and 11 seats, liberal SaS nearly 6 percent and 11 seats and Bro 8 percent and 13 seats. The newly formed Conservative Party OLaNO gets about 9 percent or 16 seats. The SNS does not pass the five percent block and leaves Parliament.
Protests against corruption
The dissatisfaction with the country’s corrupt politicians leads to large street protests in Bratislava. Police take violence to dissolve the demonstrations.