Korcok: When Facing Future Challenges, We Must Know Our Origins

Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry State Secretary Ivan Korcok (photo by TASR)

Paris/Bratislava, January 30 (TASR) – Challenges of the future, the European Parliament elections due in 2019 and integration will be high on the agenda of talks between Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry State Secretary Ivan Korcok and his French partners in Paris on Tuesday, TASR learnt on the same day.

Korcok is visiting the French capital to launch a series of commemorative events marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.

In an interview for TASR the Slovak state secretary said that he and his French colleagues will discuss the crises that the EU has faced over the past decade as well as measures that need to be taken to prevent such situations from reoccurring.

Korcok also wants to present Slovakia’s positive and open attitude towards further integration as well as the challenges for foreign policy. “We have to save the Schengen zone because at the moment it isn’t working at 100 percent. We can see that when we cross the Slovak-Austrian border,” he said.

The talks will also feature the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, which will be affected by Britain’s departure from the EU. According to Korcok, Slovakia in this regard wants to support the option of reducing the number of MEPs in the European Parliament. The state secretary added that if such an alternative isn’t adopted, “we would like the central European countries to have stronger representation in the European Parliament”.

The highlight of Korcok’s visit to Paris will be a ceremonial concert marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Slovakia, the Czech Republic and France.

“At this concert we’ll commemorate along with France the exceptional role that this country played in the founding of Czechoslovakia,” said Korcok, adding that the concert will take place in the erstwhile headquarters of the Czechoslovak National Council, the leading body of the resistance movement during the First World War that was headed by the founding fathers of Czechoslovakia – Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, Milan Rastislav Stefanik and Edvard Benes.

“When we face the challenges of the future, we have to be aware of where we came from. Slovakia’s journey to Europe partly began with what was going on here [in France] 100 years ago, when the common state [of Slovaks and Czechs] was created,” said Korcok.