Slovakia has a strong interest in Brexit discussions not ending with UK having only advantages from it and the European Union being left with only disadvantages, said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico
Slovakia will not set up a ministerial post regarding Brexit to negotiate with the UK separately, as there is clear agreement among EU member states to hold talks with the UK jointly, said PM Fico after meeting with Britain’s Brexit Secretary David Davis on March 3 in Bratislava.
On the other hand, Slovakia wants to maintain excellent bilateral relations with London, as many Slovaks study, work and live in the UK, Fico added, as reported by the SITA newswire.
Davis meanwhile stated that British people want to continue to be global citizens and good citizens of Europe.
“We want the result of our departure to be beneficial for both sides,” he said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, noting that the toughest areas in the departure process include economic relations and the issue of free trade.
The British Parliament’s House of Lords on March 1 approved an amendment to the law on Brexit that protects the rights of three million EU citizens living in Britain.
The British prime minister wants to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, thereby triggering her country’s departure from the EU, by the end of this month at the latest.Read more
Slovakia to be at the core of integration
If a multi-speed European Union turns into reality, Slovakia has to and wants to be at the core of integration.
“Thus, if a multi-speed EU becomes a reality, that is, except for the euro area, and a higher speed is to be introduced, we want to be there,” Fico said, as quoted by SITA. “We want to be there, because we see the EU as a project that is crucial for us.”
Multi-speed Europe was one of the five scenarios presented in early March by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the white paper on the future of the EU.
There already is a two-gear Europe because we have member states that are in the euro area and countries that are not, Fico noted.
“It is obvious that the degree of integration in the eurozone is much deeper than outside of this grouping,” said Fico, as quoted by SITA.
Slovakia has to and wants to be at the core of integration, and it already behaves accordingly, the PM continued, stressing that “we behave fiscally responsibly and we also solidly managed the rotating EU Council Presidency”.Read more
Treatment of Slovaks by the UK to be monitored
Fico also claimed that Slovakia will closely monitor how the UK’s promised generosity towards Slovaks living there will be met.
“Our national interests cause us to be interested in the fate of Slovaks living in the UK,” the prime minister added, as quoted by TASR. “We don’t want them to suffer in any way due to Brexit.”
Davis said that concerning those who are already in the UK and have Slovak nationality, the country’s approach will be generous, Fico went on.
“However, this word can include many things, as the devil is always in the detail,” said Fico, as quoted by TASR.
He went on to say that it is fair to acknowledge that as far as the arrival of new people in the UK is concerned, certain limits will be introduced.
“All those who wish to return from Great Britain to Slovakia are welcome,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR. “At a time of labour shortages we’re experiencing a period of significant changes on the labour market.”
Davis stated that he and British Prime Minister Theresa May have started talks and initiated activities aimed at ensuring that British people living in the EU as well as EU citizens in the UK should enjoy living conditions that will be at least as good as those seen until now.
“That’s actually the content of the word ‘generosity’,” said Davis, as quoted by TASR.
6. Mar 2017 at 13:39 | Compiled by Spectator staff