A NUMBER of statesmen and representatives of royal families greeted President Andrej Kiska on the occasion of Slovakia’s Constitution Day on September 1. Among them were US President Barack Obama, German President Joachim Gauck, Czech President Miloš Zeman, Croatian President Ivo Josipović and Belgian King Philippe.

Obama in his letter appreciated that Slovakia, after successfully transforming into a free and democratic society, is actively sharing its experiences from the last two decades with other countries that are still on their way towards becoming developed democracies.

“Slovakia’s commitment to international security within and outside the region clearly demonstrates our shared understanding that the best way to achieve peace and prosperity is through respecting human rights and the rule of law,” Obama wrote, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

Gauck noted in his telegram that Slovakia and Germany have very close and friendly relations. He also emphasised cooperation in NATO, the EU and the eurozone.

“I am strongly convinced that also in the future we will be able to overcome challenges together, and together support a strong European Union and a stable eurozone,” Gauck wrote, as quoted by SITA.

Kiska himself said on the occasion of Constitution Day that every citizen of Slovakia has the duty to bow to the majesty of the constitution, adopted on September 1, 1992, and this holds even more so for the constitutional officials who have a responsibility to carry it out properly.

The president said that he realises that most of society probably views this public holiday either formally or with indifference.

“The day on which the constitution was adopted, on September 1, 1992, was not the date of the emergence of independent Slovakia, but the constitution became its founding document, and since the first day of the state’s existence it has served as the decisive legal pillar for the republic,” Kiska said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

He added that he does not view the adoption of the constitution “as such a famous and stout-hearted moment in our modern history as the Slovak National Uprising [during WWII]”.

“Nonetheless, it is certainly the case that our statehood as expressed in the constitution has been grounded in the courageous, emotive, democratic and unique legacy of the uprising,” the president declared, as quoted by TASR, mentioning also the fall of communism in November 1989. “Although the anniversary of November 17 may arouse stronger emotions in society, it should be noted that the democratic ideals of November 1989 were stamped into the constitution.”

Source: SITA, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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