Fico: Fear Only Plays into Hand of Extremists and Nationalists

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (left) and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 30 (TASR) – During its Council of the EU Presidency, Slovakia wants to focus first and foremost on a positive EU agenda and bring it closer to people, Prime Minister Robert Fico declared before the European Commission College and Slovak Government ministers assembled at Bratislava Castle on Thursday.

The ceremony was held on the occasion of the beginning of Slovakia’s Council of the EU Presidency on Friday, July 1.

Fico claimed that he would like the Slovak Presidency to represent symbolically “a sort of political Danube River” – to bring together countries of Europe, as the Danube flows through 10 countries. “We might get a fright, but we must not be afraid. Simply put, we can’t be afraid to call things as they are. We can’t be afraid to say that there are some European policies that don’t find support across all of Europe. Fear is a very bad guide. Fear leads to the fragmentation of Europe. Fear is the most potent tool for extremists and nationalists,” he said.

However, Fico voiced his hope that, also in cooperation with European institutions, Slovakia will manage to fulfil its ambitions for the Presidency.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sees the Presidency as a great opportunity for Slovakia. “You’ll be the driving force and moderator of Europe. A moderator doesn’t hide but leads. Even in topics that could be extremely difficult for this country,” said Juncker.

According to Juncker, the European Commission can identify with the agenda that the Slovak Government approved earlier in the day for its Presidency. Juncker also offered a helping hand to Slovakia, if need be. “I’m confident that the Slovak Presidency will be a real success.”

As of 9.30 p.m., the Bratislava Castle will be illuminated with iconic symbols of both Slovakia and the Netherlands – including scenes of nature, historic sights, traditions, innovations, sports and examples of political cooperation – to mark the passing of the Council of the EU Presidency from the Netherlands to Slovakia.