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Lajčák Backs the Earliest Possible Opening of Accession Negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania at GAC

Lajčák Backs the Earliest Possible Opening of Accession Negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania at GAC

18.6.2019 | Aktivity ministra | Slovensko a Európska únia

Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, together with his State Secretary, František Ružička, took part in the meeting of the European ministers at the General Affairs Council (GAC) on 18 June 2019. A discussion on the enlargement of the European Union and its stabilisation were the most crucial items on the agenda. “Slovakia considers the enlargement process to be the most efficient transition instrument that the EU possesses. With this goal, countries that want to become members of this prestigious European club adopt rules, legislation, standards and values of the European Union which also enlarges the zone of stability and security”, emphasized the Minister. Lajčák then added that as the candidate countries must fulfil their tasks and commitments, Brussels should keep its promises to them. The Chief of Slovak diplomacy supported the earliest possible opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. “If it is not possible for the Council to reach such a decision now, then we would welcome any alternative that would allow for opening negotiations with Skopje and Tirana even during the mandate of this Commission,” Lajčák called upon the partners.  

 

The partners also focused on the future EU budget for 2021-2027. The discussion followed the modified framework rules of procedure issued by the Romanian presidency that reflect the conclusions from thematic discussions held during the last six months. The policy of flexibility of cohesion and a bigger allocation in common agricultural policy remain priorities for Slovakia. “We welcome proposed changes in the thematic concentration. Focusing on the regional or the national level, while pursuing the common goal is a win-win situation for everybody”, the State Secretary Ružička commented on the more efficient use of resources. Furthermore, he emphasized that when allocating budget funds for rural development, the rural character and its scale in the individual member states must be considered.

 

Preparation for the meeting of the European Council to be held on 20-21 June 2019 was an important agenda item. The Slovak Republic believes that the Council should make a commitment to a discussion of the Multiannual Financial Framework also at the October European Council, with the view of reaching an early agreement. In discussions about climate change, the State Secretary Ružička said he “supported the leading role of the EU in combating climate change and recognized the need to be ambitious.” However, the transition to a sustainable economy must be socially fair, and its possible impact on the competitiveness of European industries needs to be considered, as well as the right of member states to determine their own combination of energy sources. State Secretary Ružička also supported the wording of the conclusions on the Eastern Partnership. “I believe that another policy package that will be published in 2020 will be a source of dynamics that will make our relationship with our Eastern partners sustainable, stronger and more attractive,” he said.