President Kiska: We must be proud of Slovakia’s story

Top Slovak constitutional officials agree on the need to be proud in their New Year’s addresses. Apart from naming achievements in the first 25 years of sovereign Slovakia, President Andrej Kiska pointed to petty wrangles in politics and insufficient recent results.

President Andrej Kiska granting awards, January 1, 2018President Andrej Kiska granting awards, January 1, 2018 (Source: TASR)

Slovakia as a free society passed the most important test of 2017, namely the regional elections in November, in which the extremists were “soundly defeated”, Kiska said in his New Year’s speech, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

“As voters, we were able to decide well at an important moment, to keep Slovakia a self-confident, modern and democratic country,” he added.

Building on his speech from a year ago, Kiska said that Slovakia has never had so many resources with which to make major progress in some key issues. He avoided mentioning disputes with the prime minister or cabinet and did not criticise them; but he hinted indirectly that despite good economic development, what is missing are political courage, honest effort and – most crucial – political and social results, the Sme daily wrote about his speech delivered on January 1 on the public-service RTVS network.

“The number of jobless people is at record lows, the country’s economy is growing soundly,” president said, as cited by TASR. “Nevertheless, political courage, sincere effort and the most important thing – results – are still mostly lacking. In this respect 2017 was instead an unpleasant year of truth.”

The president further complained about what he called “petty wrangles” that keep sidelining fact-oriented policies.

25 years of independence, and other anniversaries

The president further congratulated the public on the 25th anniversary of independent Slovakia, stating that life in the country has always improved when its people focused on seeing the country as just, secure, free and social.

“The humanely exhausted and economically destroyed open-air museum that was Slovakia when it emerged on the map of the free world from behind the Iron Curtain has been turned by us into an open, modern and viable country, a state that has managed to use the unique potential of European integration to become a firm part of the most secure, free, prosperous and best governed part of the world,” Kiska noted, adding that Slovakia is a better place to live in after 25 years of independence thanks to its people’s efforts.

In his speech, Kiska also mentioned several anniversaries Slovakia is celebrating in 2018, from a centenary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia, through the 1948 communist coup and the 1968 Soviet invasion, to the defeat of Vladimír Mečiar, his HZDS party and his autocratic politics in 1998 as well as Slovak independence in 1993, Sme wrote on January 2.

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