State Secretary Martin Klus with European Partners on Repatriation Procedure

State Secretary Martin Klus with European Partners on Repatriation Procedure

23.3.2020 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | Slovensko a Európska únia | Koronavírus 2019-nCoV

Today (March 23, 2020), the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Martin Klus represented Slovakia at the meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers, which, due to restrictions linked to the spread of the new coronavirus, took place in the form of a video-conference.


The key theme of the meeting was how to make the cooperation of the member states and EU institutions more efficient in response to the spread of the new coronavirus. The meeting focused mainly on cooperation in the area of consular services and on possible options for strengthening coordination regarding the repatriation of citizens. With this aim, a coordination mechanism was created, that involves the immediate exchange of information among the member states and the monitoring of the situation regarding the repatriation of citizens and requests for it to the countries of the EU, and a subsequent seeking of possibilities for joint transportation of citizens back to their home countries. The state secretary emphasized that the full attention the Foreign Affairs Ministry was focused on communication with the Slovak citizens who had found themselves in complicated situations when trying to return to the Slovak Republic. “I highlighted our good experience with several partners, also thanks to whom we have succeeded in repatriating more than one thousand Slovak citizens,” emphasized Martin Klus.


He also stressed that it is necessary to keep the transit via EU member states running in order to safeguard the land transportation of repatriated persons and supplies to the population.


The member states also addressed the issue of common action in the fight against misinformation and myths linked to the spread of the new coronavirus. In this regard, the State Secretary stated: “Clearly, it is necessary to invest more energy in rebutting fake narratives linked to the new coronavirus and, at the same time, actively formulate a new joint strategic communication regarding the positive elements of the European cooperation in fighting this new challenge. A positive example could be the ongoing cooperation on repatriations as well as the economic measures endorsed at the EU level, with the aim of protecting the European economy, including the emphasis that the member states lay on maintaining the free movement of goods. These are the measures that reflect the shared solidarity and cohesion of the Union in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”


 In addition to the internal European dimension of the pandemic, the member states also dealt with the broader regional and global impact related to the spread of the new coronavirus, which the EU has been evaluating on an ongoing basis and to which it is ready to respond if need be.


As part of a broader regional agenda, the meeting also focused on the developments in Syria, with the emphasis on the Idlib Province, and on the EU-Turkey relations.