Prime Minister Robert Fico is nervous about the state the European Union (EU) is in, which demonstrates that the EU has fallen in love with itself and does not want to respect that the world outside is evolving. The Slovak PM said this at the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) in Bratislava on November 14.
The PM is not quite convinced that European leaders have succeeded in identifying the problems the EU is facing. He said that it is not only the insufficient attention given to topics such as unemployment and energy security; there’s a lot more to consider.
“It’s a question of whether or not we communicate in an understandable manner; whether or not we stick to the promises we give to the people; whether or not we address everyday topics in a sufficiently modern and vigorous manner,” said Fico as cited by the TASE newswire. “When people in Europe saw hundreds of thousands of migrants rushing here uncontrolled, it generated a lot of nervousness.”
Fico is convinced that the US presidential election has also shown that the world is quite different compared to the image depicted by the media.
“We have to talk with the public more, maybe with different methods and forms,” he stressed.
The Slovak prime minister also spoke about Brexit.
“The settlement between the United Kingdom and the EU will require a completely new model,” said Fico. “It probably will not be possible to apply the model used for relations with Switzerland and Norway. Relations with Britain are so specific that we have to come up with a new model.”
Fico recalled that there are around 80,000 Slovaks working and living in the UK, but the number of Poles hovers around one million.
“That’s why we need top-notch and balanced relations but also respect for national peculiarities and demands so that these people will not be turned into second class citizens,” he emphasised.
The Slovak PM added that while we fully respect Britain’s decision, it is not possible for Britain just to cherry pick.
“We will not negotiate the four freedoms of movement,” said Fico, adding that the EU must not be aggressive, but neither should it be naive.
Fico described Slovakia’s first ever Presidency of the Council of the EU as extraordinarily fruitful.
“We hope that it will be deemed as one of the most successful but we will have to wait until December 31, 2016 for that,” he added.
The Slovak PM thinks that the Bratislava summit that took place on September 16 was one of the most important events of the presidency.
“I consider it right that 27 EU-member states met and announced that they wanted to continue in the unique EU project,” said Fico. “It’s also right that we’ve drafted the so-called Bratislava Road Map that includes specific priorities the EU should focus on. I’m glad that Malta, as the country succeeding in the presidency is interested in respecting and implementing the road map.”
14. Nov 2016 at 22:27 | Compiled by Spectator staff