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#MYSMEEU: Korčok at the National Convent on EU in Zvolen

#MYSMEEU: Korčok at the National Convent on EU in Zvolen

10.4.2018 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | SR a EÚ | Slovensko a Európska únia | Slovensko diskutuje o EÚ

Within the series of events organised as part of the National Convent on EU (#MYSMEEÚ), the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic offered a discussion at the Technical University in Zvolen today (10 April). The opening remarks were delivered by Rudolf Kropil, Technical University Rector. After he spoke, Ivan Korčok, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, took the floor. “These days we are recalling several significant dates that are related to Slovakia’s accession to the EU and NATO, members of which we have been for 14 years now. Since from various parties there have been voices doubting the value of our membership in these organisations, I consider of utmost importance to remind ourselves why we entered the EU and why it still makes sense today,” stated Korčok at the beginning of his delivery.
 
“We wish for an open, direct and critical debate on what the European Union means for us, how we see its added value, but also where we see room for improvement. Criticism of the Union has its place in the discussion, it is fully legitimate and useful but only if it’s based on real facts. We would like to contribute to the Convent with a debate where demagogy and myths have not pushed out honest discussion and real, verified facts about the Union,” added Korčok. Students of the Technical University in Zvolen see the EU in a positive light, one of the indisputable advantages being able to study in another EU country as part of the ERASMUS scheme that many students have made use of.  For them, the EU is a guarantor of peace in Europe and provides space for freedom. The students agreed that Slovakia is a small country which, however, as part of the EU has gained significantly greater weight and can better pursue its interests. According to one of the students “EU makes Slovakia bigger”.
 
The second panel discussion dealt with specific topics that have been resonating at the Technical University in Zvolen, in particular to the environment and issues related to renewable sources. Speakers in this round were: László Miklós, Head of the UNESCO Department, Technical University in Zvolen; Juraj Kubica, Office of the Slovak Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation; Zuzana Gabrižová, Chief Editor, EurActiv.sk; and Michal Sebíň, CEO, Director, Natur-Pack. The speakers in this panel agreed that the pressure of the EU and European legislation remind Slovaks of their moral responsibility to protect the environment for future generation. 

As part of the side agenda, participants had an opportunity to visit “Europe Direct“ – an information kiosk of the Regional Centre of the European Commission, to gain environment-related information from the NGO “Strom života”, to be part of discussion with the NGO “Sebavedomé Slovensko“ and to visit an exhibition of puppets called “Memo Gym” depicting significant personalities of Slovak and European history. The Convent was concluded with a working lunch for the State Secretary and several important guests from the Banská Bystrica region, including Ján Luntner, President of Banská Bystrica Region.
 
Throughout the event, the sli.do app was very actively used by the participants who had the opportunity to address their questions to panel speakers. Several live surveys were conducted via sli.do with the audience on topics related to the European Union.
 
The National Convent on EU is a natural follow-up on last year’s discussions with students and the public at Slovak universities. The aim of the Convent is to create suitable room for discussion on the EU and have a discourse on the idea that the value, frame, security, prosperity and stability of Slovakia have no alternative outside the EU. The Convent means also an opportunity to gain feedback from the Slovak public. The series of these events was launched by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic this year in Bratislava. The three top constitutional officials took part in that event together with another 500 guests. After Bratislava, the event was then held in Žilina and today in Zvolen. Altogether, seven regional events are planned until the end of the year, with the next one coming up and supported by the Ministry on 3 May 2018 at Prešov University in Prešov.