Bratislava, March 3 (TASR) – The devil is in the details, and Slovakia will therefore closely monitor how the UK’s promised generosity towards Slovaks living there will be met, stated Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) after meeting British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis in Bratislava on Friday.
“Our national interests cause us to be interested in the fate of Slovaks living in the UK. We don’t want them to suffer in any way due to Brexit. Minister Davis said that concerning those who are already in the UK and have Slovak nationality, the [UK’s] approach will be generous. However, this word can include many things, as the devil is always in the details,” said Fico.
The Slovak premier further stated that it’s fair to acknowledge that as far as the arrival of new people in the UK is concerned, certain limits will be introduced.
“All those who wish to return from Great Britain to Slovakia are welcome. At a time of labour shortages we’re experiencing a period of significant changes on the labour market,” said Fico.
Davis stated that he and British Prime Minister Theresa May have started talks and initiated activities aimed at ensuring that British people living in the EU as well as EU citizens in the UK should enjoy living conditions that will be at least as good as those seen until now. “That’s actually the content of the word ‘generosity’,” said Davis.
According to Fico, Slovakia places great importance on the talks between Britain and the EU, as it doesn’t want to see Britain enjoying only benefits from its departure and the EU left with only disadvantages. “Because that might encourage people in other countries to organise similar referendums. On the other hand, we have a national interest in maintaining excellent bilateral relations with Britain. Slovakia won’t negotiate individually, and we respect the fact that the Union wants to negotiate as a single entity,” said the premier.
Davis further stated that the British people want to continue to be global citizens and good citizens of Europe. “We want the result of our departure to be beneficial for both sides,” he said, noting that the toughest areas in the departure process include economic relations and the issue of free trade.
The British Parliament’s House of Lords on March 1 approved an amendment to the law on Brexit that protects the rights of three million EU citizens living in Britain.
The British prime minister wants to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, thereby triggering her country’s divorce from the EU, by the end of this month at the latest.