Stefanec: Ukrainians Admire Slovakia’s Success Story

Slovak MEP Ivan Stefanec (KDH/EPP) in European Parliament. (photo by TASR)

Brussels, May 27 (TASR-correspondent) – Ukraine is striving to imitate Slovak reforms and take up a pro-European course, and it’s in Slovakia’s interest to support it with all possible means, Slovak MEP Ivan Stefanec (Christian Democrats/KDH) said Friday in Brussels.

Stefanec was speaking after returning from a three-day tour of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast and Zakarpattia Oblast in Ukraine. In both regions, he met top academic figures, officials from local and regional authorities, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, representatives of Slovaks living in Ukraine and local students.

“My conviction was confirmed that there isn’t a bigger foreign political priority for Slovakia at the moment than seeing a stable and prosperous Ukraine. Our largest neighbour has huge economic potential, which is still largely untapped,” said Stefanec, adding that reforms adopted in the past two years have visibly moved the country forward.

According to Stefanec, Slovakia has a very good reputation in Ukraine, and this must be utilised. “At all official talks and debates, as well as in chats with ordinary people, I noticed admiration for our country and the progress it has made since 1998,” said Stefanec, who entered Slovak Parliament as an SDKU-DS MP in 2006, was re-elected in 2010 and 2012 and became an MEP in 2014.

Stefanec believes that contacts should be developed on all levels, with interesting opportunities arising especially in cooperation between border regions and universities from the two countries.

The biggest obstacle to a more pronounced development of mutual relations is the visa duty for Ukrainian citizens, stated Stefanec. “I believe that it will be scrapped during Slovakia’s EU Council Presidency this year, however.”