Lajcak Faces Questions on EU Enlargement and Bratislava Summit in EP

Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (stock photo by TASR)

Brussels, July 12 (TASR-correspondent) – Further enlargement of the EU, Brexit and the EU informal summit in Bratislava set for September were among the questions chief of Slovak diplomacy Miroslav Lajcak faced at the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) in Brussels on Tuesday.

Members of the Slovak Government have been heard by respective European Parliament (EP) Committees with regard to the programme priorities of Slovakia’s Presidency of the EU Council from Monday to Thursday.

Lajcak, after a joint press conference with AFET Chairman Elmar Brok, told TASR that he’s glad about the fact that even though the issue of EU enlargement isn’t popular at the moment among EU-member states, he could feel strong support for it in the EP.

“Several MEPs have indicated that this process is important and that it’s also a question of our credibility,” said Lajcak, adding that MEPs appreciated the fact that EU enlargement is among the foreign relations priorities of the Slovak Presidency.

Regarding Brexit, Lajcak was asked how the British departure will affect the enlargement policy as well as what impact it will have on the Bratislava summit in September.

According to Lajcak, David Cameron being replaced by incumbent Home Secretary Theresa May as British prime minister on Wednesday has accelerated the process of consolidation of the British political scene. He added that this exchange shouldn’t affect the fact that the summit will mainly focus on the future of the EU, without Britain.

Lajcak conceded that the perception of Turkey – an EU candidate country since 1999 – is viewed as a sensitive topic in the EP, especially in terms of Turkey’s internal political development.

“I could feel that MEPs have differing opinions on this. I pointed to the need for dialogue on this issue. We should speak about problems openly,” said Lajcak.

The EP keeps its decision that it won’t approve visa liberalisation with Turkey unless the country meets all the criteria required by the EU.