The delegation of the European Australian Business Council (EABC) met for their seventh Australian economic mission to Europe in Bratislava. The main aim of the debate organized by the Slovak Atlantic Commission, the Center for European Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs was to strengthen the expansion of Australian business interests in Slovakia and to connect entrepreneurs from both countries. Miroslav Lajčák, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs referenced this goal in his welcome remarks, “We will generate many new ideas and contacts.”
Both Minister Lajčák and Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia Quentin Bryce acknowledged the importance of business relations between Australia and the Slovak Republic. The Governor-General stated her views towards the growing relations between the two countries, “we value the opportunity to foster a business dialogue with you (Slovak Republic)’… we are keen to explore Slovak insights…” Furthermore, Minister Lajčák welcomed the interest of the delegation in Slovakia and emphasized that “Australia and the European Union share the same values…which leads to close cooperation.”
During the debate, the Slovak entrepreneurs shared personal insights about the Slovak-Australian business relations and highlighted the main opportunities and threats of the business environment in Slovakia. “If you invest in Slovakia today, you will get more tomorrow, then you will today,” addressed investment opportunities in Slovakia Robert Simončic, Director General of the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency.
Many thought-provoking questions arose during the debate such as to what extent are the taxation rates here in Slovakia influencing companies coming to Slovakia and local companies staying here. The main conclusion was that overall while taxes are an important factor for companies when choosing business locations; it is not the main concern or factor. The second reaction to arise from the question was that of the importance of Slovakia as a monoculture in today’s global business environment. While there are many benefits to a multi-cultural environment, in today’s globalized world especially, it is hard to find mono-cultural work environments where the employees share one message with one meaning. This is one trait that nations like Slovakia offer in todays globalized business market that set them apart from their larger multi-cultural business partners.