Foreign policy and defense
Slovakia is a nation in Eastern Europe. Its capital city is Bratislava. Slovakia is now firmly incorporated into the European family, but as late as the late 1990s, Slovakia was isolated internationally because of the leftist nationalist Vladimir Mečiar’s authoritarian rule. The change took place quickly after the 1998 power shift, when the bourgeois government under Mikuláš Dzurinda took over. Slovakia turned west, allowed NATO to use Slovak airspace during the 1999 Kosovo War and joined NATO and the EU in 2004.
The Dzurinda government also aligned itself with the United States and chose, among other things, to stand behind the invasion of Iraq in 2003. This was harshly criticized for the 2006 election and the new government under Robert Fico took home the hundred Slovak soldiers sent to Iraq in 2007.
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Slovakia for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
During the Mečiar regime in the 1990s, ties with Russia were strengthened, but after the 1998 regime change, relations with Moscow became more accurate than cordial. The Dzurinda government canceled, inter alia, anti-robot systems from Russia. In 2006, relations improved somewhat and the government criticized NATO’s plans for an anti-robot defense in the Czech Republic and Poland. Contacts with Russia are also characterized by the fact that Slovakia is dependent on the purchase of oil and natural gas from Russia. After Russia in 2009 – in connection with a dispute with Ukraine – stopped gas supplies to Slovakia and other countries in Eastern and Central Europe, the Slovakians began to buy more energy from other countries.
Relations with the Czech Republic are good and the disputes over the distribution of Czechoslovakian assets at the 1993 division of the country have been resolved.
The relationship with Hungary is complicated, as for historical reasons Slovakia is worried that Hungary will see the Hungarian population in Slovakia as a reason to once again expand its territory at the expense of Slovakia. In general, relations have been good when the right-wing parties have ruled in Slovakia and worse when the left has power. The contacts were clearly tense 2006-2010 when the right-wing SNP was part of Robert Fico’s government (see Modern History). When Fico’s Smer SD returned to power in 2012, Hungary expressed concern that the aggressive moods from previous years would return, but that does not seem to have happened. An important difference is that Smer-SD is now not dependent on support from more extreme parties.
Relations with Austria have been strained because of the Slovak nuclear reactors located near the Slovak-Austrian border. To some extent, relations improved when three reactors were closed as Slovakia joined the EU. Since Slovakia began building new reactors, tensions have increased again (see Natural Resources and Energy).
The military duty was abolished in 2005. Slovakia participates in several peacekeeping operations and in 2012 had almost 300 soldiers in the NATO-led Isaf forces in Afghanistan.
FACTS – DEFENSE
Army: 6,250 men (2017)
The air Force: 3 950 men (2017)
Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 1.2 percent (2017)
Military spending’s share of the state budget: 2.9 percent (2017)
Support for the euro zone crisis fund
Prime Minister Radičová is breaking his election pledge and pushing for support for the eurozone crisis fund.
Smer-DR’s biggest party
In the parliamentary elections, Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) becomes the largest party with almost 35 percent of the vote, but the right-wing parties SDKÚ-DS, SaS, KDH and Bro form a coalition government led by Iveta Radičová from SDKÚ-DS.
New citizenship law
Parliament approves a law that deprives Slovaks seeking citizenship in another country their Slovak citizenship; The law is a reaction to a decision in Hungary, which gives Hungarian residents in neighboring countries the right to become Hungarian citizens (see also Modern history).