DIPLOMATIC SHORTS

Slovakia has new ambassador in the UK

JURAJ Zervan was officially appointed as the Slovak Ambassador to Great Britain and Northern Ireland on October 2.

Zervan, 52, a lawyer and member of the ruling Smer party, said during the installation ceremony that he intends to focus on the general promotion of Slovakia during his mission, the TASR newswire wrote. He also plans to help meet the cultural needs of the nearly 100,000-strong Slovak community that lives and works in the UK.

"It looks like more than 60,000 Slovaks officially live in the UK, while the unofficial estimates say there are 100,000 to 120,000 Slovaks living there," Zervan told TASR shortly after he was appointed to the post. "This means that besides a common consular agenda, our embassy in London will do a lot in the area of culture, because this community is large and it has its needs. We also realise (the community's) great knowledge-related and intellectual potential, and that it's necessary to work with these people."

The most frequent problems that Slovaks have to cope with include their inadequate preparation for living in the United Kingdom, and illegal Slovak companies that "mediate" work in the country.

The best way to present Slovakia in the UK is to generally promote the country, along with refuting the recent bad press about Slovakia as an area with frequent racial attacks, Zervan said.

"I personally spoke about it recently with British Ambassador to Slovakia Michael Roberts, and we agreed on certain forms of co-operation, which will be based on mutual information sharing," he said. "We are planning, for instance, to organise film presentations, and we want to establish a Slovak institute."

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