Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU
The working breakfast of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) devoted to Russia today (27 April) launched the one-day April NATO foreign affairs ministers´ meeting in Brussels, the last but one ministerial meeting before the July Alliance summit (11- 12 July 2018). The discussion showed that it is in the interest of all the member countries that the NATO summit in July confirms the resolve to finalize building the Forward Presence as previously agreed in Warsaw. The ministers focused on how to calibrate the Alliance policy for the years to come in the context of the absent date and agenda for a NATO-Russia Council session (held three times in 2017) and the worsening of mutual relations after the Skripal case. Ivan Korčok, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic who led the Slovakia´s delegation at the ministerial meeting, stated in his address that Russia clearly attests it does not intend to change its existing course and thus a clear change in its standpoints cannot be expected. “We can expect that Russia will continue in its assertive foreign policy. Therefore, there is no reason to change our existing policy, which is a combination of enhanced defence as well as dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council format. However, we should complete it with robust use of the tools for strategic communication. We must talk with our public more about security and defence in this context. To come back to standard relations from before 2014 it is necessary that the Russian Federation changes its behaviour, especially towards Ukraine,” said Korčok.
The European Union strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, including the recent attack on Douma that is a gross violation of international law. EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs view the targeted strikes of allies on military targets in Syria as specific measures with the aim to prevent further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against its own population. This was said today (16 April) in the statement endorsed by the Foreign Affairs Council of EU member states in Luxembourg. The Slovak delegation at the meeting was led by Ivan Korčok, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. “The use of chemical weapons in Douma is another flagrant violation of international law which cannot go unheeded. It is necessary that we are clear about this: there were 12 resolutions on Syria submitted to the (UN) Security Council, six of which dealt with the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population. All of them were blocked. In this way a situation has evolved when the international community simply had to react to the crimes of the Syrian regime, which since 2013 has been violating UN SC resolutions and using chemical weapons against its own citizens. At the same time, it is clear that the issue of Syria must be resolved politically, and the Geneva process has no alternative. Therefore, it is necessary to intensify diplomatic efforts as much as possible, leading to the resumption of negotiations on the future peace of Syria,” said Korčok in his remarks.
Today (20th March), the Council of the EU for General Affairs dealt with the proposal of conclusions of the EU Council meeting that will be held at the end of the week in Brussels. At the GAC meeting, the Slovak delegation was led by Ivan Korčok, State Secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. One of the key issues to be negotiated by leaders on Thursday is international trade “which, for us, is a source of growth and jobs. That is also the reason why we consider the announced action to introduce import tariffs by the US unfounded from the economic viewpoint, moreover such action is going to harm us also politically. A spiral of counter-measures is the last thing we need,” stated Korčok. Korčok also confirmed support to currently held negotiations of Commissioner Malmström in Washington on an exemption for the EU as a whole.
The European Union appreciates the existing results of the reform efforts made by the government of Moldova and supports Moldova in its approximation to the EU. Along with this support we expect concrete results from Kishinev in the areas where changes are required – especially in the rule of law, fighting corruption and the establishment of a business environment that is favorable for developing the economy and the inflow of foreign investments. This was stated today (26 February) in the opening discussion of the February session of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in Brussels, where the Slovak Republic was represented by Ivan Korčok, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
Brussels (20 February) - State Secretary Lukáš Parízek held discussions today with other EU development ministers on current challenges of the development cooperation policy, including the suitable set up of relations with development partners and adequate funding of sustainable development. The informal meeting of the development section of the EU Foreign Affairs Council paid special attention to evaluation of the review process regarding external financial instruments of the EU. The ministers emphasized that these must be linked to the political priorities of the EU, as well reflecting the need to react to political and security challenges. “The new set up of the financial instruments should effectively react to current gaps in development cooperation, such as in the area of effective connection of development with security, which creates the fundamental framework for sustainable development,” underlined State Secretary Parízek. The need for streamlining decision-making processes, as well as making them more effective and flexible resonated strongly during the meeting. The ministers also agreed that public finances cannot be the only source of funding development objectives and challenges but that it is necessary to search for other innovative forms of financing, including engagement of the private sphere.