The European Union should show a positive face after Brexit and should become a more serious player on the international scene, said Prime Minister Robert Fico after meeting with French President Francois Hollande in France on August 25.
Fico met with the French president shortly before leaving for Russia where he was to dine with President Vladimir Putin. The Slovak Prime Minister was also expected to meet with another European leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was to attend the meeting of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries on August 26 in Warsaw, Poland, the TASR newswire reported.
The meeting in France concerned the agenda for the informal EU council summit that is to take place in September in Bratislava. The Slovak prime minister considers it very important as the leaders will discuss how to communicate with the European public.
“There is more or less an agreement on the agenda; we want Europe to show a positive face after Brexit,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR.
The EU should take a more amiable approach to the public and explain to them exactly what it is doing. Another topic discussed at the summit will be the status of the EU as a global political player.
The EU should be more communicative, stronger and more stable in foreign policy as currently the member states disagree over several serious issues such as the approach to the war in Syria and sanctions against Russia, Fico added, as reported by TASR.
Regarding the migration crisis, the prime minister repeated that the member states should have more freedom when taking in refugees. Several European leaders however have different opinions on the migration crisis. Thus the EU needs “more understanding among the member states”, as reported by TASR.
Nord Stream 2 to be discussed with Putin
Shortly before leaving for Russia, Fico also commented on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project which was to be the main topic of his talk with Putin. It would seriously harm Slovakia, the Slovak prime minister said.
The gas pipeline which runs through Slovakia has a transport capacity amounting to 100 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually. The country currently uses 60 percent of it. The construction of Nord Stream would endanger the income from gas transport through Slovakia’s territory, he added.
“If the Russian gas did not flow through Slovakia, we would lose €800 million annually,” Fico explained, as quoted by TASR.
As he considers the realisation of the Nord Stream 2 project possible, he fears that the pipeline via Slovakia will not be used. Thus he plans to discuss the possibilities of using the pipeline in Moscow.
The meeting will also be attended by representatives of the energy sector, including Gazprom head Alexei Miller. Slovak gas transmitter Eustream will be represented by Daniel Křetínský, member of the company’s supervisory board, TASR wrote.
Fico also plans to open the question of the upcoming election for a new UN secretary general. Slovakia’s candidate is current Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák.
25. Aug 2016 at 23:54 | Compiled by Spectator staff