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National Convention on the EU in Nitra: State Secretary František Ružička Discusses with Students Issues concerning the EU

National Convention on the EU in Nitra: State Secretary František Ružička Discusses with Students Issues concerning the EU

2.4.2019 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | Národný konvent o Európskej únii | Slovensko a Európska únia

The eighth National Convention on the EU in the series of events entitled #MYSMEEÚ (#WEAREEU) took place at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra on Tuesday (2 April 2019). The event was opened by the Vice-Rector for Strategic Development Drahoslav Lančarič, who appreciated the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic to organize the national convention at the university.

 

In his address the State Secretary of the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry František Ružička highlighted the advantages of Slovakia’s EU membership. He stated that “despite its shortcomings, the European Union is the best project Europe ever had”. He added that “as Europeans, we should not give up on it because something is not working, but we should actively contribute to its improvement.“ In his address he emphasized the interest of young people to participate in public discussions on the EU and to become actively engaged in them. He appreciated the invitation of the Slovak University of Agriculture also for the students of Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, as well as the Vocational High School of Technology and Services in Levice.  
 

The first expert panel, which focused on the importance of the EU for the regional development in Slovakia, featured Martin Klus, MP and Vice-Chairman of the European Affairs Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Igor Éder, Vice-President of the Nitra Self-Governing Region, and Daniel Balko, Vice-Mayor of Nitra. The discussion was dominated by issues concerning regional development, primarily in the Nitra self-governing region and the city of Nitra. The panelists also talked about the geopolitical situation of the Slovak Republic, as well as the need for constructive, and critical discussion on the EU, thus contributing to its reform.  Students asked about foreign investments, dual quality of food, support for science and research, as well as the current situation in the education system.  The debaters agreed that at present the young generation takes for granted its rights and freedoms guaranteed by the EU. Security and defense, provided for the Slovak Republic and Central Europe by the membership in the EU and NATO, is rarely considered by the public. It also takes them for granted.

 

In the second panel the State Secretary had a discussion with the university students. The discussion on European affairs included not only the foreign policy orientation of the Slovak Republic but also Erasmus+ and Brexit. Both students agreed that Brexit can be an "inspiration” for other member states. Regarding a hypothetical voting on a Slovak exit, they both stated that they would vote for Slovakia to stay in the EU.  In the following part the panel also tackled agricultural policy, support for local farmers and differences in salaries, as well as food quality. The young people demonstrated their interest in voting in the European elections, but they also expect more information in a more effective way to be provided from current European Parliament MPs, candidates for MPs and politicians.

 

The accompanying program traditionally involved activities geared toward supporting critical thinking and increasing awareness about our membership in the Euro-Atlantic structures, prepared by the initiative Sebavedomé Slovensko (Self-Confident Slovakia).  At the convention there were also the Memo Gym puppets depicting important persons from Slovak and European history in the audience among students. The accompanying events were also attended by the EuropeDirect Nitra information center, Regional Tourism Association Tekov and the Nitra City Development and Tourism Department.