Bratislava, June 20 (TASR) – Slovakia will strive to maintain the high level of EU-Swiss relations during its Presidency of the Council of the EU, said Slovak President Andrej Kiska after meeting Swiss Confederation President Johann Schneider-Ammann in Bratislava on Monday.
Kiska pointed to the high degree of interconnection between Switzerland and the EU. “It’s our task during our presidency to exploit our position of being this honourable mediator and prudent moderator in order to make sure that EU-Swiss relations are at a really good level,” explained Kiska.
Schneider-Ammann added that the EU is of primary importance for Switzerland. “If we want to achieve stability on the continent, it’s important for us to join our efforts to fight unemployment and to create more job opportunities,” he emphasised.
The main point of Schneider-Ammann’s visit is to step up bilateral Slovak-Swiss cooperation in the areas of trade and investments. He’s being accompanied by a delegation of entrepreneurs who will hold meetings with potential Slovak business partners. Both presidents will speak at a Slovak-Swiss Trade and Investment Forum.
Slovakia’s head of state praised the fact that bilateral trade has increased by 80 percent over the past five years, adding that he still sees scope for improvement. Kiska said that Switzerland could serve as an example for Slovakia mainly in terms of its education system.
The Swiss president will also meet Slovakia’s Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan (Slovak National Party/SNS). “Education is a way towards having more job opportunities. It’s also one of the issues that we kind of forget about at EU level,” noted Kiska.
Both officials spoke about the security situation on the continent as well. “We perceive security threats in the same way, although we dispose of different security guarantees,” said Kiska in reference to the fact that Slovakia is a full NATO member, while Switzerland cooperates with the organisation only via its Partnership for Peace programme. Kiska also stated that even though Switzerland is a neutral country, it spends five times as much on defence as Slovakia and has an army that is ten times larger.
Schneider-Ammann is also due to meet Prime Minister Robert Fico, Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko and Economy Minister Peter Ziga.