Is Slovakia ready for 2019’s Top Ten Risks?

NETKY.SK • 14 Január 2019, 12:03 • 2 min
Is Slovakia ready for 2019’s Top Ten Risks?

BRATISLAVA-As 2019 begins, how well is Slovakia prepared for — let alone aware of — the top ten risks facing the world? A recent report widely read by business and government leaders ranks today’s biggest global threats, as identified by a think tank called the Eurasia Group.


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1. “Bad Seeds” are rapidly spreading as a lack of global leadership allows today’s daily crises to turn into even larger catastrophes. Important institutions like the European Union and the World Trade Organization, as well as the relationship between the US and China — not to mention Russia and its neighbors — have negative outlooks.  Slovakia has a stake in all these outcomes yet its role in helping to resolve these crises is restrained not by its small size but rather a lack of big ideas.  New thinking is needed to address these issues with fresh approaches.


2.  “US-China” trade tensions and geopolitical competition are rising, a departure from decades of allowing each other to act freely, or at least to agreed rules.  Missing the March 1 deadline to resolve their trade tiff could trigger billions of dollars in US tariffs imposed on autos, steel, and other imports, potentially slamming Slovakia and other exporters in these sectors.  Smart companies and countries are already assessing how to adjust their supply chains and production processes in ways that reduce risk and adapt to the emerging reality of economic regionalism. 


3.  “Cyber Gloves Off” signals the escalation of online attacks against each others’ internet infrastructure, threatening private companies, public agencies and personal data.  As economies like Slovakia’s are increasingly digitalized, their integrity is more and more threatened. Slovakia’s efforts to deter attacks are largely aligned with efforts by the EU and NATO yet few experts in the field feel they are sufficiently up to the task.  Upcoming elections for European Parliament are already experiencing efforts by outsiders to unduly influence the outcomes and manipulate the machinery upon which open societies operate.


4.  “European Populism” Parliamentary elections in May could see Euroskeptics seize even more seats than ever, bringing to Brussels a political force pushing for “less Europe.”  Slovakia is surrounded on all sides by rising rightwing insurgencies that could the reverse economic integration; what was believed to be unifying Europe is instead disintegrating it.  Slovak leaders stand on all sides of the debate yet too few articulate an agenda to transform Europe’s economic architecture in ways that address inequality and peoples’ loss of control over their own countries.  Maybe most important is reforming the continent’s common currency, the Euro, to allow more flexibility for its many members who have trade and/or budget deficits. 


5.  “U.S. at home” is a source of instability as President Trump’s opponents take control of Congress’ House of Representatives.  While the risk of impeachment remains low, a progressive wave that brought to power a record numbers of women and minorities will continue to crest with blocking power over Trump’s agenda, and important investigative authorities to tie up him and his team with investigations into his alleged tax fraud and illicit relations with Russia.  At a time when world crises are growing out of control, the one country who most defined and defended for decades today’s global order will be less of a leader.  Focusing first on fixing one’s own household is fine but letting the neighborhood languish only invites larger disasters.

These are only the first five, but readers can dig in to more in-depth analyses by Bloomberg, as well as the actual report.



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