Korcok: Defence and Security Are Business of Political Leaders

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Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry State Secretary and Government Proxy for Slovakia's Presidency of the Council of the EU Ivan Korcok (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 19 (TASR) – The common security and defence policy has seen no progress, but this isn’t the business of any presidency, but of political leaders, said Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry State Secretary and Government Proxy for Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU Ivan Korcok on Monday.

Korcok was speaking at an event entitled ‘The EU on the Edge of Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU’, which took place at the European Information Centre in Bratislava.

“It’s naive to think that some fundamental shift could be achieved from the bottom during a presidency; this is an agenda of political leaders. I sense a lack of leadership from key countries such as France and Germany, because without any momentum there’ll never be any changes,” stated Korcok, adding that the right moment for states to come closer together was directly after the Brexit vote.

Despite the fact that many criticise the area of migration, Korcok considers it to be successful, as Slovakia has succeeded in changing the minds of individual states.

Dusan Chrenek of the European Commission’s Representation in Slovakia confirmed that the European Commission is satisfied with the Slovak presidency. The EC praised the Bratislava summit (September 16), ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, the launch of the European Border and Coast Guard, the swift adoption of the EU’s 2017 budget and many other areas within the single digital market.

“It’s a huge gain also for Slovakia, which has made itself really visible in Europe as well as around the world. It’s proven that it has capable people and is able to lead the EU. Perhaps we were expecting much greater success regarding migration,” added the head of the representation.

Finance Ministry State Secretary Ivan Lesay thinks that the priority of the Slovak presidency was to succeed technically. “We’ve managed to keep the EU running in the context of all crises; that was a great feat, one that we’ve managed to fulfil 100 percent,” added Lesay, praising results in the area of the fight against tax evasion.

Slovak MEP Monika Flasikova-Benova (Smer-SD) stated that it was positive that Slovak politicians have discovered the positive meaning of the EU. “For me, the presidency is just a bureaucratic and administrative process that we’ve managed excellently,” she added.

Another Slovak MEP Ivan Stefanec (the Christian Democratic Movement/KDH) agreed with his female colleague, but he saw some reserves in three areas where Slovakia didn’t manage to strike some kind of deal – migration, which he sees as a failure of Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD); the common defence policy; and the financial sphere.

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