Slovakia takes over the helm of the Council of the EU from the Netherlands on 1 July. Over the next six months the country wants to strengthen the EU’s economy, modernise and deepen the common market in the areas of energy and digital economy and work on a sustainable migration and asylum policy. In addition it will have to deal with the new situation in the wake of the UK referendum. Read what Slovak MEPs from Parliament’s three main political groups expect from the presidency.
The Slovak presidency is tangible proof that today we are equal partners of the big European nations. If on the top of that our officials and politicians will manage to close or advance the negotiations on important issues, from which not only Slovak citizens but the whole EU will benefit, we will foster our authority and impact. Our presidency will see the beginning of negotiations on the UK leaving EU. This will be a big challenge not only for Slovak diplomacy, but for the whole Union, because nobody has any experience with this yet. It will be very difficult to, at one hand, to conserve the mutual benefits of economic cooperation and, on the other hand, to show that EU membership gives states and citizens more than just a bilateral trade agreement.
The European Union is facing a lot of pressure: extremism, nationalistic tendencies and euroscepticism are growing. The migration crisis, climate change, energy supply security, tax evasion, tax fraud, a common security and defence policy, the digital union, roaming, boosting employment, help to less developed regions and young people – all these require common solutions. Our ambition is to improve the EU´s resistance to the crisis, both from outside and within, and renew the citizens´ trust in the common European project. In the context of the UK referendum result we do not need politicians who create pressure, arguments and hatred but those who will put everyone’s interest before their own personal benefit.
I see the Slovak presidency as a historic occasion and not only to represent our country. It offers us the opportunity to return to the main thrust of the EU. The whole EU project is an initiative of Christian politicians who did not want to repeat the horrors of the world wars. Brexit is a cold shower for the European Union. This is a historic precedent from which we must learn something new. The political objective of my British colleagues in the ECR was to reform Europe and I fully support this. It should be stressed that it is already clear that Brexit will greatly harm the British people. The Leave campaign was significantly misleading and deceptive. Brexit is still not implemented and in view of possible Scottish and Northern Irish referenda on the secession from the United Kingdom things can still take a surprising turn.
Slovakia has MEPs in Parliament’s three largest groups: EPP (6), S&D (4) and ECR (3). The MEPs we talked to are heads of the Slovak delegations of their respective groups.
Compliments of the European Parliament