Blair admires Slovak reforms

BRITISH PM Tony Blair, who visited Bratislava yesterday to meet his Slovak counterpart, Mikuláš Dzurinda, had kind words for Slovakia's reforms, international performance and its leader.

"At European summits you really get to know the character of a politician, and I respect Dzurinda," Blair said.

Not to be outdone, Dzurinda praised the leadership skills of his guest, both in the world as well as in Great Britain.

According to Dzurinda, Blair deserves recognition for his "uncompromising continuation of the fight against terrorism, his ability to carry out bold reforms in Great Britain", and his activities during the British presidency of the EU, when the Union's financial outlook for 2007-2013 was approved, the Hospodárske noviny daily wrote.

During their talks the leaders concentrated on reforms and investments into education, and also discussed the situation in science and research, where Slovakia lags far behind western countries and is in danger of undermining its own plans to build a knowledge-based economy.

Later the men also talked about the situation with Iran with regards to the fact that Slovakia is a non-permanent member of the UN's Security Council.

Today the two leaders met with students at Bratislava's Comenius University. Blair also met Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič before leaving for Prague in the afternoon for a congress of European socialists, where he was expected to meet Slovak opposition leader Robert Fico, chairman of the social democratic Smer party.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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