SLOVAK President Ivan Gašparovič met with his US counterpart Barack Obama in Warsaw on June 3. The two politicians discussed the situation in Ukraine and energy security in Europe.

At a round table of presidents of central and eastern European states, Gašparovič stressed that the Ukrainian crisis has changed the perception of security in Europe.

“The situation in Ukraine forces us to more carefully perceive our alliance with NATO and the European Union,” said Gašparovič, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

He added that Ukraine needs domestic stability, and this must be secured not from the outside, but rather by Ukrainians themselves via their elected representatives.

“Thus, the Slovak Republic praises the fact that Ukraine took the first step by electing President [Petro] Poroshenko,” the Slovak president said, as quoted by SITA, adding that “the path to Ukraine’s stability lies in the reform of self-governments”.

Barack Obama praised the progress in countries of central and eastern Europe after democratic changes 25 years ago, stressing the role of NATO as a contributor to the region’s security. However, he called on the leaders of these countries to assume a higher level of responsibility for their own security and asked them to increase their contributions to defence within NATO forces.

Gašparovič said Slovakia supports the diversification of energy sources and also supports Poland in importing and processing shale gas. He added, however, that for Slovakia, nuclear power remains the priority as a source of clean and environmentally friendly energy. The top event continued with a gala evening celebrating the 25th anniversary of democratic changes in Poland.