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PORUBANOVA3

PORUBANOVA3

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Published by elplasti

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Published by: elplasti on Sep 14, 2009
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09/13/2009

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 Rural Development and Diversification of Rural Areas in Slovakial. The country context
Since May 2005 Slovakia - as 9 other countries of Europe, concluded a several years of the negotiation process and became a full member of the European Union. As suchSlovak citizens were exposed to several changes – both positive and negative in allaspects of political, social and economic life of the country. Traditionally wellprotected borders became more open, citizens could move more freely but also goods,of course. Common European markets brought lower prices for consumers in severalcommodities including food on one side, but on the other side more difficult saleconditions for producers. The competitiveness of enterprises became a crucial factor of the economic success. Suddenly accessible European agriculture direct payments(although just 52,5% of full directs payments of farmers of old member states - OMS)immediately brought farming to a better and more favourable conditions. This facttogether with a “good weather” factor and consequently unusually high grain harvestcreated situation in which more than 70% of agriculture enterprises became profitable.Last surveys of sector average salaries showed, that the fastest growing wages are inagriculture – the sector, which was always lagging behind in the past.In general - the country macro-economic development took quit positive trend duringlast several years including the short time before the EU Accession. As the Green Report2004 says, the GDP growth was 4,2 in stabile prices , the inflation rate was 8,5,unemployment rate was 15,2% at the end of 2003 (declining trend), average nominal salarywas 480 USD, average interest rate was 7,6 in 2003. The Statistical survey conducted by theStatistical Office of the SR has shown further growth in nominal salaries – 570 USD at theend of this year. Among sectors the agriculture was the one with the fastest salary growth.
 
Slovakian economy became a fast growing after EU Accession. The in flow of foreign investments increased remarkably (In 2003 – 11,2 billion USD, Green Report,2004), especially in Western part of the country, the orientation of the industrialdevelopment in favour of value added branches helped to decrease the highunemployment rate and increase the average salaries.Unfortunately this positive development is not fairly balanced among regions, sincemost of domestic and foreign investments are concentrated around capitol city (whichhas an ex-centric position within the geography of the country) or in western regions,which were in quite favourable conditions already before. On the other side – Centraland Eastern parts of the country are continuing to suffer of unfavourable socio-economic context and consequently of lack of job opportunities. The study of theSlovak Academy of Science carried out in 2004 has shown clearly disparities amongregions and illustrates statements above (Graph 1).
 
 Graph 1. Current economic situation of districts in SR, Statistical Office, 2001Due to these facts the group of socially excluded people is growing in theseparts of the country . Therefore the Central and Eastern parts of the country are themain target areas for activities of European Social Fund – a new and positivephenomenon of the EU Integration.
2. The situation in rural areas
Slovakia has 5 379 thousand inhabitants, total country surface is 49.000 km2.Total rural population represents 2 567 781, which is 47,7%. Average populationdensity is 109.9 inhabitants per km². Outside urban areas, the population isconcentrated in lowlands and valleys, while mountain areas are sparsely settled, whichis caused by the fact that the extensive settlement and use of the country has essentiallyaffected the original structure of the country and composition of ecosystems.Statistically rural areas are not precisely defined. Rural settlements are considered to bethose generally not having the status of a town and having a certain character and typeof occupancy, economic structure, based mainly on the agriculture and forestry, a lessdeveloped infrastructure and low population density. In terms of statisticalclassification these settlements – villages have up to 5 000 inhabitants.The Statistics Office of the SR registers 2 883 settlements, of which 2 745(95.2%) are villages and 138 cities. The majority of villages - 1979 have up to 1 000inhabitants and of these 1 210 villages have fewer than 500 inhabitants.The level of rurality, according to OECD methodology, is defined by the shareof the population living in rural settlements. Regions (districts) with a share of thepopulation living in rural municipalities over 50% are described as districts having asignificantly rural characterOn the basis of this classification 48% of the population of 2
 
Slovakia lives in “predominantly rural” districts, 40% of the population in “semi-rural”and 12% of the population in “predominantly urban districts”. Predominantly ruralareas represent 59.5% of the land area of the Slovak Republic. In these areas arelocated 62.8% of agricultural land and 55.9% of forests. If compared to the situationwithin the EU - on average 28% of the population lives in predominantly rural regions,32% in semi-rural regions and 40% in predominantly urban regions. Slovakia has asettlement structure comparable to that of, for example, Norway..Graph 2. The regional typology of rurality in Slovakia
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Types of regions
UrbanSemiruralRural
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The above mentioned rurality copies also the general socio-economic situationand disparities between regions as described previously While rural towns and villagesin Western parts of the country are benefiting of the economic growth in terms of employment (not so much in terms of income – since rural people with lowerqualification are exposed to minimum salaries policy of employers too often), the fasterinfrastructure development and public goods investments in general, their counterpartsin Central and Eastern parts are not so lucky. This part of rural Slovakia feels harderalso consequences of the transition processes which are still remaining to influencesocio-economic context of less favourite regions.3

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