Juncker and Fico Discuss Migration, Bratislava Summit and Brexit

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Talks between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister Robert Fico at a press conference in Bratislava (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 1 (TASR) – Talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker featured three main topics – migration, Brexit and the Bratislava summit that is set to take place on September 16, said Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) at a press conference in the Reduta building in Bratislava on Friday.

Fico and Juncker concurred that migration and Brexit will strongly influence Slovakia’s Presidency of the EU Council. According to Fico, the presidency should focus primarily on a positive agenda. At the same time, Slovakia would like to create room to discuss topics that divide EU-member states.

Fico confirmed that the Bratislava summit will be held on September 16. “This summit will undoubtedly be the highlight of the Slovak presidency,” he said, adding that it will be an informal meeting of 27 EU-member states [i.e. without Great Britain – ed. note] outside Brussels that will focus on the future of the European project.

Regarding Brexit, Fico and Juncker agreed that without notification that the UK is leaving the EU, no negotiations – not even informal ones – can begin.

The Slovak prime minister pointed out that the current issues are quite serious for such a small country as Slovakia. However, the country has done its best to prepare a successful presidency that will be carried out in close cooperation with the European institutions. “In this spirit we held an open, factual and content-rich meeting with the president [Juncker],” said Fico.

Also discussed was the programme of Slovakia’s Presidency of the EU Council – approved by the Cabinet on Thursday (June 30).

Juncker would be glad if during Slovakia’s presidency the internal market deepened and if Energy Union, Digital Union and a Capital Markets Union were launched. A common border guards project is expected to be implemented soon under Slovakia’s lead, added Juncker.

As for migration, Juncker said that it’s a complex issue. EU leaders are trying to bring the differing opinions of EU-member states closer together, he added.

Members of the European Commission arrived in Slovakia on Thursday (June 30), just before Slovakia took over the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union from the Netherlands on Friday.