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GLOBSEC 2017

Fico: We cannot allow multi-speed EU to become divisive

Final session of the 12th edition of Globsec 2017 featured Slovak PM Robert Fico, Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka, and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in a panel entitled European (Dis)Union?

Last year Donald Tusk, Robert Fico, and Bohuslav Sobotka (left to right) were among the prominent guests. (Source: SITA)

Coming straight from the G7 summit, Tusk remains optimistic. He said he considered the talk of the demise of the EU and Western world as such, an exaggeration. After initial meeting with US President Donald Trump, he believes Trump is determined to change the bad first impression from his administration.

Read also:GLOBSEC forum will host guests from 70 countries

Slovak PM Fico sees an opportunity in the US administration´s request for more European engagement. He considers it a chance to be active in issues and regions where the EU has the potential to play bigger role than it used to. With regards to the issue of multi-speed Europe, Czech PM Sobotka identified risks in potential creation of divisions within the EU.

“We do not want to see new barriers making it difficult for countries to move to higher level of integration if they want to," Sobotka said.

PM Fico commanded newly energised Franco-German integration engine. However, he agreed with PM Sobotka that any decision, even though strictly touching only eurozone, has to be taken with the consideration of non-eurozone countries.

“We cannot allow this issue of multi-speed Europe to become divisive,” Fico said.

Tusk considers multi-speed integration a natural feature of a complex system such as the EU.

Furthermore, Tusk is convinced that the ability to constantly look for compromise is not the EU´s disadvantage.

“Permanent process of disputes and compromise is our political heritage,” Donald Tusk said.

Predicting the future of the EU, PM Sobotka warned against withdrawing solely to the bureaucratic processes. He emphasises the need to work on the commitments from the summits in Bratislava and Malta. PM Fico stressed the importance of being pragmatic and rational in making changes. The EU should focus and work on the things we agree on rather than struggle with things that divide us.

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