BRATISLAVA HAS become the host for the Conference of the Speakers of European Union Parliaments, the highest form of European inter-parliamentary cooperation.
The conference, which is held every year under the presidency of a different country, was to start on May 24, shortly before The Slovak Spectator went to print.
The conference this year was to be presided over by Speaker of Slovak Parliament Pavol Paška.
"The conference is an opportunity for Slovakia to present itself after three years of EU membership as a full member, as a country that can also bring its opinions to the European agenda," said Paška.
The main issues to be discussed at the conference included the questions concerning the future of Europe, the further development of inter-parliamentary cooperation, increasing countries' awareness of being European and helping the parliaments of emerging democracies.
Paška used his right as the presiding Speaker to invite Alexander Moroz, speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, to participate in the meeting and present Ukraine's foreign-policy vision.
Observers of the Slovak political scene recognised the significance of Bratislava being chosen as the conference venue.
"It is an affirmation of where we belong as much as it is a meeting of Speakers of EU parliaments," political scientist Grigorij Mesežnikov told The Slovak Spectator. "This is a chance for us to demonstrate our solidarity with Europe and with the European Union in the face of the complex development happening in the world. Especially during the last summit with Russia, representatives of the European Union clearly showed Russia that all EU countries have the same status and that there is no second-rate membership."
28. May 2007 at 0:00 | Ľuba Lesná