Bratislava Becomes Centre of European Diplomacy; Hosting EU Summit

Panoramic view of Bratislava with Bratislava Castle in the back (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 16 (TASR) – Comments are emerging concerning a ‘Bratislava process’, which is very important, because in this way the EU summit that is taking place in the Slovak capital on Friday could be written into the political history of the EU, said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico prior to the summit.

The Slovak capital will host the leaders of all EU-member states, excluding Great Britain, for the first time ever.

“I would call this summit self-reflection and a search for solutions. This Bratislava process should continue in Malta and then next spring in Rome, where the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome will be celebrated,” stated Fico. [The Treaty of Rome was signed on March 25, 1957 and led to the establishment of the European Economic Community – a predecessor of the EU. – ed.note]

Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak noted that 343 delegates, 1,350 journalists, including 1,100 from abroad, have registered for the summit. “Around 500 suppliers are taking part in ensuring that this event functions well. There will be 75 interpreters and dozens of personal bodyguards. This event doesn’t have a precedent here in Slovakia. It can be compared only to the Bush-Putin summit [that took place in Bratislava in February 2005],” said Lajcak.

Bratislava on Friday will become not only the ‘capital of Europe’, but also the centre of attention of the whole world. Journalists from the USA, Mexico, South Africa and Japan are among those accredited.

The most important role of the summit is to halt the surge of pessimism and eliminate the risk of further attempts or referendums on leaving the EU, noted Fico. “If we start the process in Bratislava by saying that the EU is a unique project that we care about, while admitting certain errors and naming concrete topics on which we’d like to focus in the next few months, it will be an extraordinarily successful summit,” he stressed.

Fico said that the summit will deal, for instance, with the form that the EU will take after Britain’s departure and with security in terms of fighting terrorism as well as in social and economic terms. The EU leaders should also discuss new investments, forms of communication and the global role of the Union.

Fico added that it can be presumed that the discussion will be critical as well. “Otherwise, what would be the point of all of this? We haven’t invited the premiers and presidents for a trip, we’ve invited them for a very serious debate. We can also expect some harsh comments and talk,” he warned.

The premier would welcome it if this summit sent out a so-called Bratislava letter, process or memorandum to the world indicating that everyone stands behind the EU because nothing better is available.

“This summit is historical also due to the fact that EU leaders have met in Brussels so far to deal with questions concerning financial crises, security and migration. This is the first time in the past ten years that such a summit is being held outside of Brussels,” explained Lajcak.

EU leaders will meet at Bratislava Castle. The first session will be dedicated to diagnosing the current situation in the EU, while the second will focus on specific steps that need to be taken in the next few months. The two sessions at the castle will be separated by an informal lunch during a boat trip on the Danube River, where the delegates will discuss the fallout from Brexit.