Bratislava - Slovakia is experiencing an economic boom, yet living standards of its citizens still reaches only one third of the Western average.
Slovakian daily Pravda has published this information.
In spite of having outrun the neighboring Hungary, Slovaks are going to reach the level of Germany not earlier than in 10 years, economists say.
However, Slovakia can catch up with and eventually outgrow the Czech Republic in seven years.
"In 1997, living standards in Slovakia were reaching only 70 per cent of the Czech average, this year it could be already 85 per cent," an ING Bank analytic Eduard Hogar was quoted by Pravda.
Although the statistics show quality of life improving, the majority of Slovaks don't agree. They are comparing their situation with Austria and Germany.
In comparison to these countries, the difference between Czechs and Slovaks are marginal.
Seniors most pessimistic
According to a poll recently released by STEM research agency, no less than three quarters of the Czechs believe they will never reach the economic level of Western European countries, or that it will take more than ten years to do so.
Since 2003, the number of pessimists has grown by 14 per cent.
Seniors, people with lower levels of education and supporters of left wing parties proved to be among the most skeptical.
According to Eurostat, Slovak economy and quality of life will be able to reach 70 per cent of the EU average. In the Czech Republic, it is approximately 80 per cent.
From the "new" 10 EU member states that joined in 2004, Slovenia is the most well-off. On the contrary, Poland is the poorest country of the group.