Bratislava, January 2 (TASR) – I can seriously state today that Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU was a real success, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) told Monday’s news conference dedicated to the presidency’s evaluation.
“It was successful in all aspects and it’s not us but all the EU top officials and EU member states confirming the success with their statements, there was also a very positive media response and even the Slovak Opposition stated it was a standard presidency what we perceive as high praise from it,” stated Fico. On this occasion, he also thanked Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) and Government Proxy for Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU Ivan Korcok.
Fico sees launching of the ‘Bratislava process’ as the most significant result of the Slovak presidency. “I think that the Bratislava process has already entered a modern history of European politics, since it has started the process of the EU’s self-reflection that had to come following the British voters’ decision to quit the EU,” he said.
Fico labelled a shift in the view of migration as the second significant moment, praising the concept of effective solidarity. “If we fail to elaborate this concept, the EU will have no effective tool to address problems brought about by the migration crisis in 2017,” stressed the prime minister, adding that the so-called mandatory quotas of a temporary character are ending in 2017.
“An extraordinarily positive news is that a budget for the Slovak presidency projected at €70 million was far from being exhausted and savings today are higher than €14 million,” stated Fico.
Lajcak said that 20 ministerial events were held in Bratislava, as well as over 180 events at an expert level and six events of a parliamentary dimension. “In addition, there were 53 ministerial councils chaired by Slovak ministers and over 1,200 working groups led by Slovak diplomats. Almost 26,000 people attended events held by the Slovak presidency in Bratislava, including 833 persons at the ministerial and higher level and 1,521 foreign journalists,” stated Lajcak.
About 350 promotional projects took place in 30 countries all over the world, including about 250 cultural events. Moreover, over 200 events in Slovakia, as well as abroad were held under the auspices of the Slovak presidency, reported Lajcak.
Korcok stated that it’s merit of Slovakia as a country presiding the EU Council that the roaming in mobile communication will be scrapped as of this July and that an agreement on the 2017 budget has been achieved within which Slovakia has fought out additional €500 million for its farmers and milk producers for this year. At the same time, we have tasked the European Commissions with extending tools to combat unfair trade practices, stated Korcok. He also praised an agreement on the frequency band, progress in the field of digital economy and modernisation of trade tools strengthening the EU’s ability to defend itself against dumping imports, for example in the steel industry.
Slovakia held the presidency of the Council of the EU between July 1-December 31, 2016. Malta has taken over the presidency from Slovakia as of January 1, 2017.