WE ARE experiencing complicated times in international relations that we have not seen in our region at least since 1989, Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák said at the 15th Conference on Foreign and European Policy of the Slovak Republic for 2013 in Bratislava on March 24.
"The situation is even more complicated considering that the principles and rules that guarantee the current order of our geopolitical environment, of whose correctness we're deeply convinced, and to which we've committed ourselves several times, are now at stake," said Lajčák, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Nonetheless, Lajčák evaluated 2013 in positive terms. The European Union stabilised its monetary and economic situation, and growth was revived. Slovakia is set to receive €13.5 billion net for the 2014-20 period, which is €2 billion more than in the previous term.
"Visegrad cooperation (between Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) has gained quality and dynamics. This is an encouraging signal and a commitment for us ahead of our presidency of the V4 in the second half of this year," TASR quoted Lajčák as saying.
The minister noted that the EU in 2013 signed association agreements with Moldova and Georgia as part of the Eastern Partnership and significant progress has been made in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, and also in the sphere of enlargement, which has brought results in countries such as Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
Slovakia’s top officials, Prime Minister Robert Fico and President Ivan Gašparovič, spoke at the conference as well.
Gašparovič in his speech remarked that in politically turbulent times like the present, the importance of the security agenda increases and it would be hazardous to have a head of state with no experience in foreign policy, TASR reported. Fico, who is Smer’s official candidate for president, is considered the more experienced between the two competitors on the March 29 run-off where he will face Andrej Kiska.
Speaking at the conference, Fico said Ukraine needs help but repeated his previous claim that it does not mean the EU should pay Ukraine for everything.
"Everyone has to do his homework first himself,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR. “We're ready to help them, but all help has its limits and is economically limited."
Fico stressed that cooperation within NATO is among the key areas for Slovakia’s foreign policy in 2014. In this respect he recalled his meeting with US President Barrack Obama.
"We consider NATO to be the fundamental guarantor of our security. Only with the events taking place in Ukraine are many realising that stability and security can't be taken for granted," said Fico, as quoted by TASR.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.
25. Mar 2014 at 10:00