Prime Minister Robert Fico said he has certain ideas regarding the priorities of Slovakia’s presidency over the Council of the European Union which should be accepted on June 30, following the referendum in the United Kingdom on June 23, and the EU summit on June 23 and 24.
“We are ready to be flexible when it comes to our presidency’s programme,” Fico said during his June 1 visit to Brussels, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Slovakia wants to focus on four areas: an economically stronger Europe, strengthening the digital single market, sustainable migration and asylum policy, and the global involvement of Europe in various projects and processes where Europe should be more active.
Slovakia is ready to deal with these issues, Fico added.
The whole presidency will be dominated by the result of the UK referendum and the results of the EU summit, he continued.
The PM stressed that the presidency was an important factor when forming the new government after the March 5 parliamentary elections. The aim was to create a cabinet composed of standard political viewpoints, he stated.
Fico believes that his government will handle all the challenges that are awaiting the country’s presidency.
“We want to stress that we are fully aware of the task of the presiding country,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR, adding that Slovakia wants to be a so-called honest broker which means that the country wants to make compromises in every possible area. “This however does not mean we want to change our national attitudes. We will not place these national attitudes on the table in the first place.”
Meeting with Juncker and Tusk
After meeting with EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, Fico admitted that there are topics on which the member states disagree, as well as those on which certain agreement may be achieved. On the other hand, most of the EC proposals are acceptable, he added.
He mentioned as an example the “Back to Schengen” plan which should be in place this November, as well as the implementation of the political decision to establish the European coastal and border guards.
Fico would like to term the difficult European agenda in more human and understandable language, in order to explain the decisions the country makes to Slovaks.
“The agenda is especially important and necessary for the people,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR.
Juncker perceived the meeting positively. He asked Fico to be pro-European leader, TASR reported.
Fico also met with European Council President Donald Tusk, with Tusk inviting the Slovak PM to the building of the European Council. He said that the expectations for Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU are rather high, as it comes at a decisive moment for Europe.
There is no need to stipulate every individual challenge that Slovakia will face, Tusk said.
Slovakia would like to be a country that helps to find compromises with respect to key decisions at the EU level, Fico said. He also reiterated that the presidency is a great opportunity for Slovakia.
“We’re in an optimistic and constructive mood, and as we have excellent partners such as the European Council president and the European Commission president at our disposal I believe we’ll manage it without any complications,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR.
2. Jun 2016 at 6:46 | Compiled by Spectator staff