Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, including its fiscal integration, the creation of an Energy Union and the digital single market, as well as sustainable migration and asylum political union and development of business policy are among Slovakia’s priorities for the presidency over the Council of the European Union which it will hold in the second half of the year.
Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák presented the priorities to the parliament on May 24, and the deputies acknowledged them, the TASR newswire reported.
“The main topic of our presidency will be economically strong union,” Lajčák said, as quoted by TASR. “We will support deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, including its fiscal integration. In financial area, one of the crucial topics will be support of small and medium-sized enterprises. The aim of the Slovak presidency will be to progress in building the union of capital markets.”
Slovakia also wants to support the development of projects like the Energy Union or the digital single market.
“We will focus on removing barriers and developing the digital economy,” Lajčák said, as quoted by TASR.
Regarding the Energy Union, he also stressed the aim of safe and clean energy for affordable prices for consumers.
Slovakia will also try to secure sustainable migration and asylum policy, based on protection of outer borders, restoration of the Schengen area and cooperation with non-EU countries. The country will also focus on legal migration, with the aim to lure migrants with high qualification, like founders of startups and enterprises, Lajčák stressed.
Moreover, Slovakia wants to support active realisation of the revised European neighbourhood policy.
“The enlargement this policy remains the most efficient transformation toll of the EU towards its neighbours,” Lajčák said, as quoted by TASR. “Thus we will focus on keeping the dynamics and trustworthiness of the enlargement process.”
As for business policy, Slovakia will support bilateral talks about free trade with non-EU countries. Among the crucial discussions is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the process of approving the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the minister added.
The government, however, will approve the priorities only after the United Kingdom’s referendum on staying in the EU whose result will impact the EU development, Lajčák said, as reported by the SITA newswire.
He also stressed that the presidency is not about defending national interests, but the interests of the whole EU.