No new dividing lines should be drawn in the European Union - neither between north and south, nor east and west, European People’s Party (EPP) candidate for the post of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at a press conference in Bratislava May 6.

“I don’t accept dividing member countries into old and new ones,” said Juncker, as quoted by the TASR newswire. Juncker noted that he’s been in Slovakia several times, first in 1997, during the era of Vladimír Mečiar who attempted to prevent him from meeting representatives of the opposition. Then, he met for the first time future Slovak two-time prime minister Mikuláš Dzurinda whom he considers a personal friend. It was Dzurinda who now invited Juncker to Bratislava.

The press conference was organised by the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and attended by chairpersons and leaders of EP election slates of all Slovak members of the EPP; apart from SDKÚ also the Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH), Most-Híd and the Party of Hungarian Community (SMK).

Juncker pointed out that the upcoming European Parliament elections will for the first time take place according to the rules of the Lisbon Treaty. He said that when it comes to the prospects of the EPP and the Socialists, they have roughly similar chances of winning the elections. “We want the EPP to be the winner of the elections, however,” he said, adding that Slovak MEPs may tip the scales. He noted that the European Council will for the first time take into account the results of the EP elections when appointing the Commission head.

The public in the EP elections will decide which employment policy will be adopted by the EU, according to Juncker. Another priority consists in creating a European energy union, the third in concluding a free trade agreement with the US, the fourth in building monetary and economic union, while the fifth priority concerns the “British issue”.

“The setting-up of an energy union may be interesting for Slovakia,” the EPP leader and former Luxembourg prime minister said. “We aren’t ready to accept that countries such as Slovakia may end up in a situation with gas supplies interrupted in the midst of winter.”

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