During its Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of this year, Slovakia will focus on strengthening the European economy, modernisation and extension of a unified market and will promote sustainable migration and asylum policies, says Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák. His remarks came on May 26 in Bratislava during a conference of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), which considers completion of a unified digital market to be a key challenge.
“We want to be pragmatic, to focus on tangible results for European citizens,” said Lajčák, as cited by the TASR newswire. “We want to look for compromises that are acceptable to all.”
In order to fulfil its priorities, Slovakia will support an economic environment that is favourable for investments and job creation. This includes the deepening of Economic and Monetary Union and the Union’s capital markets.
Regarding the unified market, Lajčák sees possible progress in the fields of digitisation and e-commerce – which need the same rules.
“We want to focus on reducing barriers in data transfer as well as geo-blocking and international roaming,” he added.
Slovakia will also contribute to the creation of a reliable and competitive Energy Union by strengthening energy security, regional cooperation and solidarity.
As for migration and asylum policies, Slovakia should, according to Lajčák, adopt a global approach. This means introducing European border and coastal patrols, modernisation of the Schengen area external borders and effective cooperation with third countries. International trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and enlargement of the EU are also on the agenda.
Karl Cox, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU), finds an incomplete internal market as the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs and consumers face in the EU nowadays.
“There are trade barriers, especially for digital goods and services in Europe, that limit supply and increase prices for consumers as well,” said Cox, adding that he hopes that Slovakia’s EU presidency will put into practice more measures in the field of a unified market, especially in the digital sphere.
26. May 2016 at 23:19 | Compiled by Spectator staff