Premier: Challenges for EU Will Be Its Enlargement, Migration and Market Issues

Premier: Challenges for EU Will Be Its Enlargement, Migration and Market Issues
Prime Minister Robert Fico giving a speech at a conference marking the 20th anniversary of Slovakia's accession to the European Union in Bratislava on May 2, 2024 (photo by TASR)

        Bratislava, May 2 (TASR) - The European Union faces several challenges, including, for example, having to deal with its further enlargement, illegal migration and the issue of the market, said Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) on Thursday at an international conference called '20 years of Slovakia's EU membership - Challenges and Opportunities'.
        Fico stressed that EU membership is irreplaceable for Slovakia, but it will continue to be confronted with its sovereign views.
        Regarding the enlargement of the EU, the premier noted that the government and Slovakia support Ukraine's accession to the EU. However, according to him, there's a need to be honest and admit that there's a long way to go. The EU should focus much more closely on the Balkan states.
        The currently approved philosophy for addressing the migration crisis is, in his view, unsustainable. He reiterated his disagreement with the so-called migration pact. In this context, Fico also stressed the need for member states to retain their right of veto. If it were abolished, it would be the beginning of the end for the EU. It is also important, he said, that states within the EU should be unanimous on security, foreign policy and budget issues. "Otherwise, the EU will have huge problems," he emphasised.
        Fico criticised the EU's stance on foreign policy issues, pointing to, for example, differing attitudes towards war in Ukraine and in Israel. He also has a negative view of the EU's attitude towards the negotiations on dealing with the conflict in Ukraine, during which the Union was unable to come up with a peace initiative. "Peace should be high on the European agenda because the EU was founded as a peace project," he said.
        In the future, he said, the EU must also address the market agenda and nuclear energy.