Slovakia. Before the referendum on EU membership in May, the government feared that turnout would not reach the necessary 50% for a valid result. However, by allowing the election to run for two days, the authorities managed to get 52% of the voters to vote. According to Countryaah.com, Slovakia Independence Day is July 17. The support for the EU was overwhelming among the voters; 93% said that Slovakia will join the Union in May 2004.
During the summer, conflict broke out in the government around the abortion law. One of the coalition parties, the Liberal New Citizens Alliance (ANO), pushed, along with the opposition, a liberalization of the law in Parliament. However, the new law was rejected by the president who sent it back to Parliament for further consideration. In September, the government parties agreed to let the issue of abortion rest pending a ruling from the Constitutional Court. The current law allows abortions up to the twelfth week of pregnancy, while ANO wants to extend the time to 24th week.
Despite the fall in inflation and the decline in unemployment, in 1997 Slovakia was separated from the group of countries that had the greatest opportunity of accession to the EU and NATO. A referendum on NATO accession, held in May, was boycotted by 90% of voters, after canceling a question on ballot papers, on holding direct presidential elections, as proposed by the opposition.
Opposition continued throughout the year to organize itself. The new Democratic Slovak Coalition, the SDK, made up of 5 opposition parties, signed a cooperation agreement with the Coexistence Coalition. President Kovac, who had a particularly tense relationship with Meciar, joined the ranks of the Prime Minister’s critics; he demanded in January 1998 that Meciar improve relations with the United States and the EU.
In July 1999, in protest of the discrimination, around 1,000 Slovak gypsies applied for asylum in Finland. President Schuster recognized that the claim was legitimate and took steps to improve the conditions of this minority to stem future mass flight. In July 2001, he deeply regretted the murder of a gypsy detained at a police station, promising that the guilty would be tried.
In November 1999, Slovakia and the Czech Republic reached agreement on the financial balance between the two countries as a result of their separation. Prague pledged to transfer 4½ tonnes of gold to Bratislava, and acknowledged to have a debt of $ 1 billion. US $ to Slovakia.
In February 2001, Parliament adopted an important constitutional amendment needed for its accession to the EU and NATO. The change brought about a decentralization of power, gave more powers to the authorities overseeing the work of the state and strengthened the independence of the judiciary. Russia announced immediately that it opposed Slovakia’s possible accession to NATO because it wanted the alliance as far from its borders as possible.
In April 2002, the EU suspended its financial assistance to Slovakia, expressing its concern about how it had been used so far. The decision was made after the Slovak official, Roland Toth, in charge of the distribution of aid, withdrew following charges of corruption. The suspension was a severe blow to the Slovakian plans for accession to the EU. Nevertheless, the country joined the first round of admission and was admitted to the EU on 1 May 2004. It is also admitted into NATO. In the fall of 2003, the center-right government lost its majority in parliament when three members of the government coalition declared themselves independent.