European affairs

Slovakia's EU presidency begins in July and Bratislava has suddenly started resurfacing its roads with gusto. You can now drive your police-escorted limousine down Štefánikova Street without spilling your cocktail.

Slovakia's EU presidency logoSlovakia's EU presidency logo (Source: Sme)

The months ahead in Bratislava will be dominated by Europe.

On July 1, Slovakia's much-heralded six-month EU presidency begins. What does this mean? To answer to that question would probably require a degree in Brusselsology.* All I can say for certain is that it will involve a lot of VERY IMPORTANT meetings involving some VERY IMPORTANT people.

The reason I know this is that Bratislava has, after a hiatus lasting since 1989, and quite possibly 1948, suddenly started resurfacing its roads with gusto.

Parts of the Danube embankment are now smoother than the Nurburgring. Even the decaying concrete underpass next to the presidential palace has been given a lick of paint. And after several days of chaotic road works in April, you can now drive your police-escorted limousine down Štefánikova Street without spilling your cocktail.

One might ask why we need the prospect of foreign visitors to secure these changes. Whatever the reason, locals will applaud the results.

Other transport-related developments are less certain. Visiting Euro-dignitaries will marvel at the capital's new "Old" Bridge, a gleaming testament to EU funding. Whether they will get to use it is another matter.

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