Czech Republic attracts more investment than Slovakia

Nine years after the break-up of the former Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic attracts much more foreign investment than its former federal partner. Actually, the Czech Republic is attracting more foreign direct investment than any other of the ten EU candidate countries from Central and Eastern Europe, while Slovakia is third from the bottom, ahead of Slovenia and Estonia.

According to the European statistics agency Eurostat, in 1999, foreign direct investment accounted for over 11 percent of the Czech GDP, and the Czech Republic managed to attract a quarter of all investment in the region. In Slovakia though, foreign direct investment accounted for a mere 2 percent of GDP and also 2 percent of the total investment in the region. What attracts foreign investors to the Czech Republic the most is a complex system of investment incentives and cheap labour.

On Monday, the Czech Republic's chief negotiator with the EU, Pavel Telicka, said that the Czech Republic intends to fight even harder against its competition from other candidate countries when attracting foreign investment from EU states. Mr Telicka claimed that the competition is unfair because the investment incentives granted by the other candidate countries did not comply with EU standards, unlike the Czech system.