Merkel: Bratislava Summit Takes Place in Constructive Atmosphere

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande at the Bratislava EU summit. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 16 (TASR) – The informal summit of 27 EU member countries (without Great Britain) in Bratislava on Friday took place in a constructive atmosphere, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference after the meeting.

She conceded that Europe is currently in crisis, so it was necessary to agree on a joint plan outlining the Union’s priorities for the next few months. This concerns chiefly the six-month period set to culminate on the 60th anniversary in March of the Treaty of Rome – the founding document of what would eventually become the European Union.

The EU leaders also agreed with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union address delivered earlier this week in the European Parliament. Its main topics were discussed in Bratislava – security, migration and proposals on halting illegal migration. Merkel said that much has already been done concerning security and terrorism, but further cooperation concerning the protection of the people of the EU is needed.

At the moment, compromises, solidarity and cooperation are necessary most of all, said Merkel, describing Bratislava as a city symbolising the beginning of closer cooperation in the EU.

The joint declaration of the Visegrad Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) issued earlier in the day on “flexible solidarity” in terms of migration policy is a positive proposal, said Merkel. She added that it’s going to be interesting to debate specific points of the declaration with these countries.

According to the V4 declaration: “It’s necessary to halt the influx of illegal migrants. The V4 countries stress, therefore, that a boost in cooperation with third countries, including Turkey, and safeguarding of the outer Union border must be among the key instruments. The protection of borders of EU member countries and third countries located on the migration routes is viewed by the V4 as an effective way of dealing with migration.”

When it comes to Brexit, Merkel said that a country that has decided to leave the community is its full-fledged member with all rights and duties until it officially leaves. Nevertheless, for EU leaders it will be necessary to be properly prepared for the situation when Britain actually leaves the EU, noted Merkel.