Korcok: Slovaks Should Realize EU Is Not Only About Money

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Flying flags of Slovakia and the EU (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 24 (TASR) – The cardinal interest of Slovak foreign policy is the protection of Slovakia’s sovereignty, the cultivation of democracy and the rule of law as basic prerequisite for economic prosperity, chief of Slovak diplomacy Ivan Korcok stated in his address to Parliament on Thursday.

Korcok unveiled the Slovak Foreign and European Policy 2020, in which he outlined the foreign affairs priorities to the legislators in a broader context.

The effort to face the global pandemic of coronavirus, climate change, mass migration, demographic changes, hybrid threats and disinformation campaigns as well as activities of non-state actors cast the sovereignty of each state under a new light, regardless of its size. “No isolated national responses are possible today and, therefore, it’s useless applying the narrative of state sovereignty to suit domestic political needs. It must be perceived in the context of the contemporary complex world and actively promoted via its sharing wherever necessary. Let me reiterate so as to avoid misunderstanding: sharing doesn’t mean unilateral surrender of sovereignty,” stated Korcok, adding that sharing means promoting interests more efficiently.

Korcok pointed out that Slovakia ranks 127th in terms of land size, 117th in terms of population size and 60th in terms of economic size, with a 0.11-percent share of the global GDP. “Since 2004, however, we’ve been part of the EU, which is the 7th largest, 3rd most populous and second biggest global economy. Therefore, anyone capable of perceiving these facts must concede that EU membership has significantly if disproportionately uplifted our weight category, our options and influence wielded in international ties. Without our EU and NATO memberships, few would ask for our opinion and neither would we have any vehicle to effectively promote it,” he said.

Korcok rejected voices calling for Slovakia to play the role of a bridge between West and East as an ill-conceived experiment. “I fail to grasp the call to belong somewhere in the middle because in this case it would mean to belong nowhere. And that is not a good alternative in today’s unstable world,” he warned.

The minister also doesn’t like the fact that political discourse about the EU in Slovakia revolves mostly around European Funds, motorways and waste water treatment plants. “They’re all important, but, unfortunately, if these are the only salient points of the discussion then we’re helping to paint the picture that the EU is only about money.”

Korcok pointed out that the integration process is the response to two epochal failures of Europe in the 20th century, when the might-makes-right approach in international affairs led to the two destructive world wars. Hence, the EU today serves also as a fail-safe against nationalism, national egotism and a good solution for smaller states in particular.