Slovak minister makes the case for a knowledge economy
Slovakia's current competitive advantage lies in its low cost and efficient production. But as the economy moves closer to that of the rest of the EU, this advantage will be lost. The Slovak government wants the country to be ready for this moment, and is therefore committing now to the development of a knowledge economy, as explained by Pál Csáky, Slovakia's Deputy Prime Minister, during a speech in Bulgaria on 17 January. 'In the horizon of ten years, many investors focusing on cheap large-scale and low value-added production will be likely to start leaving Slovakia, heading further east. If we want the quality of life in Slovakia to continue growing, we must foresee this problem and start addressing it already now,' said Mr Csáky. The country has therefore developed a national Lisbon strategy, focusing on the four areas that it considers to be the most significant: human resources and education; the information society; entrepreneurial climate; and science, research and innovation. '[O]ur economic growth must be based on the ability of Slovak people to work with new information, to generate new knowledge, and to apply it in practice,' said Mr Csáky. Slovakia's schools and universities are also experiencing reform in line with these objectives. Universities need to expand their capacity and improve quality, according to Mr Csáky. They will also need to adapt in order to respond to the need for life long learning, and to operate as research centres on an international level, the minister added.