The only, but also the most important point on the agenda of today’s meeting of the EU General Affairs Council (GAC) in Luxembourg was approval of the final version of the guidelines for negotiations on withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union. The extraordinary GAC meeting, at which Slovakia was represented by its Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Miroslav Lajčák, was convened in relation with the withdrawal notification under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union by the United Kingdom and as a follow up to a document that includes the European Commission’s draft guidelines. The negotiation guidelines are aimed at defining the framework for the key principles and positions for the European Union’s negotiations with the United Kingdom for its withdrawal from the EU.
Minister Lajčák and Austrian Minister Kurz discuss Brexit, OSCE presidency and bilateral issues in Vienna
The standard of Slovak-Austrian relations is satisfactory and is founded on strong economic links and practical cooperation in a series of areas; yet the foreign affairs ministers feel the need to meet more often and exchange opinions about key topics at least twice a year, in Bratislava and in Vienna. This was acknowledged today (25 April) by the heads of diplomacies of the Slovak Republic and of Austria, Miroslav Lajčák and Sebastian Kurz, during their bilateral meeting in Vienna. The working visit by Minister Lajčák immediately preceded the official incoming visit of the newly-elected President of the Republic of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, in Slovakia, and besides the timely bilateral and European topics the discussion also resonated with Austria’s forthcoming presidency of the Council of the EU and use of the SK PRES-related experience and also Slovakia’s upcoming presidency of the OSCE in 2019 for which Slovakia wants to draw from the experience of Austria (the country presently presiding over this organization) as well as timely developments in the Western Balkans and in Turkey.
Strategic dialogue between MFEA SR and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces continues
Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Miroslav Lajčák, today (25 April) received a delegation from the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) that is Slovakia’s strategic partner for activities to promote security sector reform. The cooperation of Slovakia with DCAF started in 2006 and since then has resulted in numerous activities within international and regional organizations. Minister Lajčák appreciated the high standard of cooperation with the Geneva Centre with an outlook toward SR’s presidency of the OSCE in 2019. One of the most important Slovakia-Geneva Centre cooperation activities in 2017 will be organizing an international conference on security sector reform (SSR) scheduled for the beginning of June in Bratislava on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the first UN Security Council Open Debate upon the initiative of SR as a non-permanent member in 2006-2007.
Brexit and the status of EU citizens in the United Kingdom, the EU27’s unity as the fundamental principle in negotiations with London and the future of the EU in a multipolar world were the key themes that resonated today (24 April) during the meeting of Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Miroslav Lajčák, and the European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani who is attending the Conference of the Speakers of the EU Parliaments in Bratislava. As the minister emphasized in the discussion, Slovakia and the European Parliamentarian are in the same boat when it comes to the EU’s priorities in the forthcoming negotiations with the United Kingdom, namely the legal status of EU citizens in the British Isles following the departure and financial settlement.
Minister Lajčák: “Montenegro has progressed most of all Western Balkan partners in their EU and NATO integration processes”
On the side line of the Conference of the Speakers of the EU Parliaments taking place in Bratislava during these days, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Miroslav Lajčák, welcomed the speaker of the legislative body of Montenegro, Ivan Brajović, in the premises of the diplomacy department today (24 April). Minister Lajčák emphasized in the discussion that Montenegro is entering the final phase within its Euro-integration effort as attested by fulfillment of its more than a decade-long dream of full-fledged NATO membership. “The fast ratification process of the Accession Protocol in all Alliance member states is a clear display of support for Montenegro and recognition of the accomplished results on its way of reforms. The example of Montenegro confirms the vitality of NATO’s open door policy and may motivate other Western Balkan countries as well and demonstrate that sincere reform effort pays off,” said Minister Lajčák who also appreciated the country’s progress on its way to the European Union.