Korcok: Conference on Future of Europe Currently Overshadowed by COVID Debates
Brussels, November 16 (TASR-correspondent) – It’s essential to talk about the direction of the European Union, as EU citizens have been expecting such a dialogue since 2016, Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korcok (a Freedom and Solidarity/SaS nominee) has said in an interview for TASR in connection with the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE).
The chief of Slovak diplomacy noted that European and Slovak citizens were promised this conference, which is supposed to generate ideas about Europe’s best future direction, as early as in 2016, when the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU.
“At that time we told our citizens that we understand what the departure of one member state means. Then came other things that only speeded up and increased the need to talk about the future of Europe,” said Korcok.
He added that the EU is now at a stage at which CoFoE-related local discussions are underway in member states.
“We’re focusing on discussions with the public, youth, individual segments of society, entrepreneurs, i.e. all those on which the EU has a specific impact,” said Korcok, adding that State Secretary Martin Klus is in charge of work concerning the conference on behalf of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Korcok noted that “a tour of Slovakia” took place in August, with government representatives visiting several towns and localities in order to hold a direct dialogue with the public.
“I must also say that people today have only COVID-19 on their minds. Everything revolves around COVID, which is logical, as health, the economy and jobs are at stake, and so it’s not an easy discussion,” said Korcok when asked about the course of CoFoE in Slovakia.
The minister voiced his hope that all the impetuses from EU-member states will be gathered together and sent to Brussels by March 2022. Meanwhile, CoFoE plenary sessions are being held in EU institutions, with Slovaks taking an active part.