Eduard Buraš, advisor on cross-border cooperation to Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, has spent the last three months at the Slovak-Ukrainian border dealing with the events that arose after the invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview with The Slovak Spectator, he talks about his work, the problem with Transcarpathian Roma, the situation at the border crossings in the past few weeks, why Slovakia should not forget about Ukraine after the war, and what to expect from this year’s Days of Ukraine event.
TSS: What does a normal “war” day of the prime minister’s advisor on cross-border cooperation look like?
EB: It depends on whether I'm on my way to Ukraine or handing administration at the office.
If, for example, I'm dealing with humanitarian aid, issues related to travelling to Ukraine, helping with children or children’s homes, that day is filled with preparations for crossing the border, collecting goods or looking for sponsors. A day is sometimes not enough.
We cannot help everyone. It is important to target assistance for specific groups. That has worked for us.
Today, there are not as many people willing to help as we witnessed at the beginning of this refugee crisis. The euphoria of aid is waning, but the war continues.
TSS: It is May 25. Where did you have to go yesterday?
EB: I was in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine, in the morning.
Earlier, we had a meeting in Vyšné Nemecké [the Slovak border crossing with Ukraine] with Government Plenipotentiary for Roma Affairs Ján Hero, prime minister’s Advisor for Regional Development Rastislav Jílek, and the Order of Malta in Slovakia, which brought aid for target groups that do not have to cross borders.
- advisor to PM Eduard Heger on cross-border cooperation
- head of the Feman organisation, which organises the Days of Ukraine event
- former plenipotentiary of the city of Košice for the development of cross-border cooperation between Košice and Uzhhorod
In order to moderate their movement, we are trying to find solutions in cooperation with the Military Regional Administration of Transcarpathia. Communication and cooperation with the Consul General of Slovakia in Uzhhorod, Pavel Pánis, and the head of the department for European integration of the Military Regional Administration of Transcarpathia, Alexander Biľak, who speaks Slovak, is very good.