Bratislava, June 2 (TASR) – Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) and his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders on Thursday signed a bilateral agreement on cooperation during Slovakia’s six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU, TASR learnt on the same day.
[The Netherlands currently holds the presidency and is due to hand it over to Slovakia in July – ed. note]
“As the network of our diplomatic missions isn’t identical, in some countries Dutch diplomats will continue to carry out presidency duties on our behalf, and, vice-versa, we’ll represent them at some working levels,” said Lajcak.
The agreement features help for committees and working parties of the EU Council during the presidency. Dutch specialists will assist Slovakia in fields in which it lacks expertise. These include certain international environmental issues (featuring seas and oceans) and internal and external fisheries policy. This representation will be carried out only at a lower level and in close coordination with Slovak experts.
“I invited him [Bert Koenders] to give a speech at a meeting of our ambassadors. I think it’s a unique opportunity for them to hear a minister of the country that is presiding over the EU Council at the moment telling them what it’s like, what is expected of them and what tasks and requirements will be imposed on them,” added Lajcak.
Koenders stressed that the Netherlands is interested in close cooperation with Slovakia. “We’ve an interest in cooperation with Slovakia, and what we’ve signed today is confirmation of our good cooperation, our willingness to be part of Europe and to deal with the issues that we are currently facing together,” said Koenders.
Slovakia inked a similar agreement with Malta, which is set to take over the Presidency of the EU Council from Slovakia as of January 2017. The bilateral agreement was signed by Slovakia’s Government Proxy for the EU Presidency Ivan Korcok and Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 Ian Borg in Brussels in May. According to the agreement, Malta will represent Slovakia in the areas of fisheries and maritime policy, while Slovakia will help Malta during its presidency concerning nuclear issues, agriculture and veterinary medicine.