Kiska: Security Is Top Priority for European Union Today

Slovak President Andrej Kiska (photo by TASR)

Rome/Bratislava, September 29 (TASR correspondent) – A top priority of the EU at the moment is security, stated Slovak President Andrej Kiska during his visit to the Roman seat of the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) Sophia headquarters on Wednesday, TASR learnt on Thursday.

According to Kiska, the security of the Union, protection of its borders, as well as the migration crisis could be addressed by bolstering Europe’s joint defence structures.

“The Sofia operation is a great example of how things should look. As many as 25 countries have got together and created a system of protection – border protection. It’s a system that not only rescues tens of thousands of migrants from drowning, but also destroys the boats of people smugglers,” Kiska told TASR after the visit of the mission headquarters and his meeting with Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, Sophia operation commander.

The Slovak president considers the Sophia operation to be a successful project, but he admitted that it also has its flaws. According to him, the project needs to “feel” that security is the priority for the EU. “It needs to feel it by beans of financial contributions, support and human resources,” he added.

In line with a recently extended mandate of EUNAVFOR MED Sophia, it’s currently preparing the training of the Libyan coastguard and navy.

According to the Slovak head of state this activity will, inter alia, help “Libya protect its borders and prevent migrant smugglers from shipping migrants out of the country.”

Kiska appreciated that Slovakia will take part in the project. It has already contributed to this mission with financial aid of €50,000.

Kiska would like Slovakia to provide more money to this project in the future. By doing so the country could significantly contribute to Europe’s security, he said.

The president’s two-day official visit to Italy continues later today with talks with Italy’s top officials – Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Senate Chairman Pietro Grasso. Kiska will also visit the Pontifical Slovak College of St. Cyril and Methodius.

As well on Thursday, Kiska, along with Mattarella and Slovak Culture Minister Marek Madaric, will officially open the ‘Gothic Treasures from Slovakia’ exposition in Rome.