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Kukan: Pros of EU membership clearly exceed cons

Opposition SDKÚ party vice-chairman Eduard Kukan said on May 1 that Slovakia's membership of the EU has clearly brought more positives than negatives, the state-run TASR newswire wrote.

Opposition SDKÚ party vice-chairman Eduard Kukan said on May 1 that Slovakia's membership of the EU has clearly brought more positives than negatives, the state-run TASR newswire wrote.

"The EU is still popular with the Slovak public and citizens believe that EU accession was a good thing and will bring positive effects also in the future," Kukan told TASR on the fourth anniversary of Slovakia's entry into the union.

According to Kukan, who served as foreign affairs minister under both of Mikuláš Dzurinda's administrations (1998-2006), the positives of EU membership include the inflow of foreign investment, which has led to a fall in unemployment, and the opportunity to travel freely. One negative aspect is that not all EU countries have opened their labour markets to citizens of new member countries. Kukan doesn't understand why Germany and Austria are resisting the move, when countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland haven't recorded any negative impact on their economies or employment.

In Kukan's opinion, Slovakia's reputation abroad has slightly worsened over the past two years. Although the election was democratic, the new governing coalition was immediately viewed negatively by other countries even before it was set up.

"Similarly, some of the moves on the political scene have led other countries to begin asking whether everything is in order with democracy in Slovakia," stated Kukan. TASR

b>Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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