State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Peter Javorčík, met with the President of the Senate of the Netherlands Ankie Broekers-Knol during her first-ever official visit to Slovakia. At the meeting on February 19, they discussed more in detail the preparation for the presidency of the EU Council which Slovakia will take over in 2016 from The Netherlands and which it will pass over to Malta beginning 2017.

They agreed, according to the TASR newswire, on fine-tuning and electing jointly the topical issues of their respective presidencies aimed at keeping the continuity. Javorčík stressed that the preparations for Slovakia’s presidency of the EU Council are a challenge, as this is the first time for the country to lead it.

People need to be reminded that EU membership has brought many advantages to member states, Broekers-Knol said after meeting Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška. She spoke about the EU’s benefits in connection with the upcoming European elections slated for May 24 and the increasingly Euro-sceptic views appearing across Europe. Paška informed his Dutch partner about Slovak voters’ turnout in the European elections, which in his opinion is “disastrously low”.

Broekers-Knol said that the situation in the Netherlands is similar [in 2009 NL turnout was on 36.4 percent compared to EU average of 43 percent - ed. note], although the voter turnout isn't so low. “Our citizens are also extremely pro-European; but, on the other hand, they are very critical towards what is happening in European institutions,” she said.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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