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State Secretary Ružička Led Discussion of the Interministerial Coordination Group on Brexit also with Representatives of the European Commission in Attendance Today

State Secretary Ružička Led Discussion of the Interministerial Coordination Group on Brexit also with Representatives of the European Commission in Attendance Today

24.1.2019 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | BREXIT |

František Ružička, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, led today (24 January) the session of the Interministerial Coordination Group (ICG) on Brexit at the level of state secretaries.  The meeting was attended by the state secretaries of the ministries, the representatives of social partners, expert and professional organizations, as well as the representatives of the European Commission led by Céline Gauer, Deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission.  The European Commission is now visiting all EU27 member countries to discuss the preparation of the rescue plans concerning Brexit.  The timing of the ICG was suitable for their calendars, and Slovakia was the second country visited (after Austria).

 

The main objective of the ICG was to follow up on the meeting on Monday of the ICG representatives with the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic and to agree on finalizing the government material to prepare the Slovak Republic for the UK’s no-deal withdrawal from the EU. As the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry’s State Secretary Ružička stated: “Although nobody in Brussels or London wishes for a no-deal withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, at this phase it is necessary to be ready for anything.” The Government of the Slovak Republic at its next session will discuss a set of concrete legislative and non-legislative measures in order to minimize the possible negative impacts on the Slovak Republic.

 

The core message of the European Commission was that it is necessary to accept that in the case of a “hard” Brexit, certain obstacles, limitations and a decrease in mutual cooperation will necessarily happen in all areas. The only area in which it is necessary to preserve the present state and scope of protection are the rights of citizens who live in UK and EU member states.  Also the Slovak Government committed to this step (in a statement of the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic on Monday, 21 January 2019), which the European Commission (EC) positively accepted, appreciating the constructive approach of Slovakia.  Then the EC held a lively discussion with the ministries and partners interested in measures and steps relevant for coordinated and harmonized policies, especially trade, and transport and agriculture policy.

 

The talks showed that, despite the large number of technical diplomatic correspondence and the preparation of 20 legislative measures, there can still be certain disruptions and a legal vacuum.  It will simply not be possible to avoid this situation completely. However, member states at the national level should proceed in a united fashion and in harmony with the EU legislation. Then in the discussion on justice cooperation, the Justice Ministry presented its plans for the training of judges, which Gauer evaluated as "an example worth following and to be listed among the best practices for member states by the Commission".

 

The meeting with the EC was of high added value and clearly showed that to a great extent Slovakia is ready for any scenario of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, also the least desirable one, a hard Brexit.