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State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic František Ružička at Europe Day in Košice

State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic František Ružička at Europe Day in Košice

4.5.2019 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | SR a EÚ | Slovensko a Európska únia

Europe Day was held in Košice on 3 May 2019. The event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic and the Information Office of the European Parliament in cooperation with the Košice City Hall and the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia. The aim of the event was to discuss with a broad public the European Union in conjunction with a series of cultural events.

 

The whole-day event was also accompanied by a discussion entitled “The Future of the EU as Seen through the Eyes of Young People” held in the Košice Cultural Center with almost two hundred high schools students in attendance from Gymnázium (Grammar School) Snina, Cirkevná spojená škola (Secondary Church School) in Snina, Stredná priemyselná škola (Secondary Technical School) in Snina, Gymnázium Giraltovce, Hotelová akadémia (Hotel Academy) Košice, Gymnázium Konštantínova Prešov, Gymnázium Poštová Košice and Gymnázium Alejová Košice.

 

In the panel discussion young diplomats and high school students had a discussion with State Secretary František Ružička. In his opening speech Ružička clearly emphasized the Euro-Transatlantic orientation of Slovakia and the indisputable accompanying advantages for its citizens. “Turbulent developments on the international scene attest to the fact that Slovakia’s membership in the EU and NATO contributes to strengthening our security and affirming Slovakia’s orientation in the space of values and democracy. This highlights the position of our country in the global context.  The Slovak passport is among the ‘strongest’ in the world, we pay with a strong currency and our young people have unprecedented opportunities to study and work.“

 

The discussion moderated by Martin Strižinec confirmed that young people are interested in European issues. The lively discussion, lasting more than 90 minutes, included topics such as Brexit, the alleged Brussels dictate, double food quality, Ukraine and its European aspirations, terrorism, migration, the European Parliament election, critical thinking as well as the fight against disinformation and hoaxes.

 

In this regard State Secretary Ružička asked the young people to be sensitive to disinformation and lies.  “We live in the world of hyperinflation of information, a great part of which is untruthful or intentionally distorted. In this time before the European elections the public is confronted with numerous hoaxes and lies about the EU. It is young people who have a great potential to contribute, by means of their critical thinking, to preventing the proliferation of disinformation and rebutting it also in discussions with their peers and friends. At the end of the event the State Secretary presented letters of appreciation from the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs to the headmaster of Gymnázium Snina Iveta Lazorová and the deputy headmaster of Cirkevná spojená škola Andrea Gičová for their activities geared toward the strengthening of European awareness among the youth.  Both schools were successful in 2019 in the projects the European Parliament Ambassador School and Euroscola 2019, where they ranked first and second.

 

The discussion with the students was preceded by workshops on the European elections in 2019, the protection of human rights and democracy, as well as developing critical thinking, with representatives of the Office of the European Parliament in Bratislava, the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia, Sebavedomé Slovensko (Self-Confident Slovakia) and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.

 

After the discussion, a debate with the broad public in the Hexa stand in Hlavná ulica (Main St.) was also held.  The program was wrapped up with evening concerts of the bands Helenine oči and Polemic.

 

Europe Day in Košice and its program were part of the #MYSMEEU (#WEAREEU) initiative of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.  In the context of this initiative 9 events at universities in all the regions of Slovakia have been held so far. The objective of this initiative is to inform the public about the values and the direction of the foreign policy of the Slovak Republic and also to react to the trend of waning trust in democratic institutions and doubt concerning the Slovakia’s EU membership.

 

The photographs from the event are also available at the Ministry´s profile www.mzv.sk and Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mzvsr/sets/72157678062898807 .