SLOVAKIA’s representative in the European Commission (EC), Ján Figeľ, a commissioner responsible for education, training, culture and youth, presented the commission’s programme for 2009 to the Slovak Parliament on February 10.
He pointed out that the countries of the European Union (EU) should invest in education and research and development even in these times of economic crisis.
“The crisis will be over one day; however, only those countries that get ready for the post-crisis period will benefit,” Figeľ said, adding that countries which cut their investments in research and development may harm their future, SITA newswire reported. In April 2009 the EU will deal with the question of how to improve partnerships between universities and businesses which should be created mainly for research and development projects.
Figeľ commented on Slovakia’s accession to the eurozone too, saying that the European currency protected the Slovak economy.
"The eurozone is an area of stability," he said. Countries should now deal with measures that will ensure that their economies grow and do not slip into recession.If any crisis measures are taken, they must be only of a temporary nature, Figeľ said.
Few Slovak lawmakers attended Figeľ’s speech, SITA reported. Only a few dozen out of the 150 members of parliament were in the chamber to hear the commissioner speak.
Parliament also debated a report on the government’s priorities resulting from the European Commission’s legislative and work programme for 2009 which was presented by Deputy Prime Minister for Knowledge-Based Society, European Affairs, Human Rights and Minorities Dušan Čaplovič.