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Slovakia opposes enlargement of Visegrad four

SLOVAKIA still opposes enlarging the Vysegrád group (V4), although Hungary wants to invite Austria and Slovenia (which form a 'regional partnership' with the V4 countries) to join, the TASR news agency reported.

"Enlargement would be a step towards V4´s gradual liquidation," Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan said during parliament's European Affairs Committee meeting January 25.

Kukan said that Slovakia is interested in continuing cooperation between Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary within V4's framework.

The most important issue concerning the V4 in the upcoming period is cooperation within the EU´s financial perspective for 2007-13. This will be discussed during Luxembourg's presidency. Slovakia hopes to acquire the most advantageous financial conditions possible from the next EU budget.

Kukan also presented the European Affairs Committee with this year's prospective foreign policy trends. Besides the EU´s financial perspective, Slovakia will focus on the Lisbon strategy and reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Preparation for entry into the Schengen system, further EU enlargement and increasing access to the labour markets of the rest of the EU will be the priorities.

"There will be no dramatic change in foreign policy. We will continue developing our past achievements with the assumption that EU and NATO membership has not been our final objective. Our objective is to make Slovakia better," Kukan said.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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