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Minister Lajčák addresses the annual meeting of Romanian ambassadors

Minister Lajčák addresses the annual meeting of Romanian ambassadors

2.9.2015 | Aktivity ministra

Bucharest (2 September) – Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of Romanian ambassadors, consuls general and directors of cultural institutes today in Bucharest. Before the top diplomats of Romania he discussed the challenges the European Union is facing and Slovakia’s opinions of how they should be addressed.

Besides addressing the meeting of ambassadors, Minister Lajčák also held talks with his departmental counterpart, Bogdan Aurescu, and was received by the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannes.

“I am here also by virtue of very strong and friendly ties that exist between our countries,” said Minister Lajčák to the Romanian ambassadors. “The Slovak-Romanian relations are founded on common values. There is a tight historical tie between us when we were on the same side of the barricade in the critical times. Just the same now, there also are common challenges that we are facing as allies and partners within NATO and the EU,” emphasized Minister Lajčák, while highlighting the quality and intensity of bilateral cooperation between Slovakia and Romania, including top level visits.

Minister Lajčák reminded the audience that Slovakia and Romania are allies with strong historical ties and mentioned the joint fight against revisionism between the world wars, the engagement of the Romanian army in the liberation of Slovakia from Nazi occupation and Romania’s refusal to participate in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Treaty armies.

Minister Lajčák also appreciated Romania’s long-term policy towards minorities that has allowed the Slovak ethnic minority to maintain its identity and develop itself free from assimilation pressures. On the other hand, Slovakia was a strong supporter of Romania’s European integration and was the first EU country to ratify Romania’s EU accession agreement and has also been promoting Romania becoming part of the Schengen free movement area.

“We have very close, almost identical positions on many issues within the EU at present. Our positions on Western Balkan integration, European reform within the Eastern Partnership countries and minority protection are very similar,” underlined Minister Lajčák. He also reminded that both Slovakia and Romania believe that international law must be honoured and there should be a single set of universal rules that hold for all within international relations.

Minister Lajčák also identified the critical issues that the EU has to address at present. “The major and unprecedented challenge now is migration. The present crisis has a potential to undermine fundamental European freedoms,” warned Minister Lajčák while stressing that the EU must be further actively involved in promoting diplomacy and preventing conflicts; the Iranian nuclear programme agreement and progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina are examples of solutions that can be found at the negotiation table.

Minister Lajčák also delved into the situation in Ukraine, relations with Russia, and dedicated a significant portion of his address to Slovakia’s preparations for assuming the Presidency of the Council of the European Union next year. The experience Slovakia has so far gained in the process is of interest to Romania because it has just started launching preparations for its own presidency in 2019.

The discussion between President Iohannes and Minister Lajčák focused mainly on bilateral relations and issues related to both countries’ activities within NATO and the EU.

“The aim of our relationship is working on maintaining a high standard and intensity and also enlarging the extent and scope of the positively-developing economic cooperation,” said Minister Lajčák during his meeting with President Iohannes while adding that the visit to Slovakia by the President of Romania in November this year will be another important step in this direction.