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State Secretary Ružička Meets with the Visegrad Group Partners

State Secretary Ružička Meets with the Visegrad Group Partners

6.9.2019 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | Slovensko a V4 |

The key themes of the meeting of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs František Ružička with his partners from the Visegrad 4 countries in Prague were the EU budget, climate change, EU enlargement and issues related to Brexit and the new European Commission. The meeting took place today, September 6, 2019.

 

Despite the fact that the current political development in the United Kingdom has been dynamic and it is difficult to predict the events of the upcoming days and weeks, Slovakia is committed to continue to be a constructive partner in the discussions on the future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom.  František Ružička, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, confirmed the Slovak position at the meeting of representatives of the Visegrad 4 countries who oversee European affairs (the so-called V4 sherpas). “We continue to prefer a controlled withdrawal of the UK with an agreement. We are ready to discuss innovative solutions concerning the Irish backstop if such a discussion is to be held without changes to the wording of the withdrawal agreement. We are ready to negotiate a political declaration about the establishment of relations between the EU and the UK since the United Kingdom will remain, even after its departure, a key partner for the EU and Slovakia. We are also ready to negotiate a possible extension of the deadline according to Article 50, if this is the wish of the other 26 EU member states since EU unity, with or without the UK, has been and will always be Slovakia’s primary and the most important strategic priority,” emphasized the state secretary of foreign affairs.

 

The Czech Republic, which assumed presidency in the Visegrad Group in July 2019 from Slovakia, brought up for discussion several important current European and global themes during the meeting. The partners discussed in Prague the forming of the new European Commission under the auspices of its designated president Ursula von der Leyen. On this occasion, František Ružička confirmed the nomination of the current Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Sefčovič.

 

The V4 sherpas, who play the role of advisors to prime ministers on the agenda of European affairs, used the meeting in Prague also for an exchange of opinions on the planned top-level events such as the V4 Summit of Prime Ministers with the leaders of the countries of the Western Balkans (September 12, 2019 in Prague) and the Prague Summit of the Friends of Cohesion which will be a follow-up event to its Bratislava meeting of November 29, 2018. “Slovakia is a clear supporter of the EU enlargement policy and its continuation. Enlargement represents our commitment towards the countries of the Western Balkans and is in our political and strategic interest, and it should be viewed in this context,” stated František Ružička in this regard.

 

The Visegrad partners also discussed the preparations for the Climate Summit in New York. At this important event, Slovakia will be represented by President Zuzana Čaputová. Our country, as the only Visegrad 4 country, has signed up to the vision of so-called carbon neutrality by 2050.  “We are aware that this is an ambitious goal, but we also believe that it is not unreachable,” accentuated the State Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.  “We must not forget the opportunities that the new green technologies offer in terms of the industrial transformation of our country. In the entire process of the implementation of measures targeting climate change, the critical factor will be to preserve Slovakia’s competitiveness in the EU and globally, and mitigate the negative social impact of the transformation,” added František Ružička.