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Yearbook 2001

Slovakia. Despite internal contradictions, the February coalition succeeded in gaining a majority in Parliament for important constitutional changes necessary for the country's forthcoming EU membership. Among other things, strengthened the independence of the judiciary. According to Countryaah, Commissioner GŁnter Verheugen said during a visit to Bratislava that it was possible that Slovakia could be involved in the first phase of the Union's planned enlargement to Eastern Europe.

2001 Slovakia

Already in April, a backlash came when the EU suspended the payment of aid to Slovakia. It was then that a senior Slovak government official, who maintained EU support, was dismissed on suspicion of misuse of funds. The support would have amounted to the equivalent of SEK 1.3 billion during the year but was held pending the Slovak investigation into the case. The decision was a serious hardship for the government, which was allowed to start negotiations on EU membership only in 2000 and who then endeavored to reach its neighbors on EU alignment.

In March, Parliament confirmed Slovakia's quest for membership in the NATO military alliance, which led to a negative reaction from Moscow. Slovakia's neighboring countries The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary became NATO members in 1999.

In June, Slovakia expressed concern over a new Hungarian law granting special rights to ethnic Hungarians living in Hungary's neighboring countries, including in Slovakia. The law gave the right to education, work and free health care in Hungary. Slovakia's Deputy Foreign Minister described the law as a step backwards, pointing out that it only targets neighboring countries and not the rest of Europe.

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