De Croo in Bratislava: Belgium Willing to Send Troops to Slovakia If Need Be
Bratislava, April 11 (TASR) – Belgium would be willing to send troops to Slovakia in the event of a NATO proposal to strengthen the Alliance’s eastern flank further, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated following talks with his Slovak counterpart Eduard Heger (OLaNO) in Bratislava on Monday, stressing that security in Europe is a collective issue.
The Slovak premier highlighted the need for cooperation between European states in their efforts to eliminate their dependence on Russian gas and oil. Slovakia is a stable and responsible partner in transporting gas to Western Europe, and if gas starts to flow to Europe from a different direction than the east and Slovakia thus finds itself on the opposite end of gas pipelines, other countries need to show the same kind of responsibility towards Slovakia, he said.
The Belgian prime minister said that he understands this requirement, noting that he sees an opportunity for cooperation between Belgium and Slovakia in the field of nuclear energy or hydrogen.
Heger reiterated his support for Ukraine’s interest in becoming a member of the European Union. He claimed that the provision of Slovak MiG-29 fighter jets is under consideration, maintaining that negotiations are already underway with partners on securing Slovakia’s airspace.
With regard to the sanctions being taken against Russia, De Croo stressed that they must be sustainable, as the conflict could last for a long time. He stated that the sanctions are intended to damage the Russian economy, but the European population must be protected. He highlighted Belgium’s role in freezing Russian assets, voicing his support for Slovakia in documenting war crimes in Ukraine. At the same time, the Belgian premier declared his desire to do everything possible to end the war in Ukraine.
In addition to the war and its consequences, the two premiers discussed the investigation into the death of Slovak national Jozef Chovanec in Belgium in 2018. “We both want to see a just verdict as soon as possible,” remarked Heger.