On 1st July 2016, the Slovak Republic will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU from The Netherlands, as part of the Dutch-Slovak-Maltese ‘Trio Presidency‘ (January 2016 – June 2017). For the first time in its history Slovakia will be at the heart of the events and developments shaping the future of the European Union.
On Wednesday 1st June 2016, the Library attended the Breakfast Policy Briefing hosted by the European Policy Centre (EPC) in order to introduce
The priorities of the Slovak Republic Presidency of the Council of the EU
presented by M. Miroslav Lajčák, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Slovak Republic (access to speech here); he was accompanied by Peter Javorčík, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the EU
In his opening remarks, Minister Lajčák expressed his gratitude and outlined his motivation:
Today, we call the EU our home, the euro our currency and Schengen our area. The Presidency is the culmination of our integration journey. We are at the core of Europe. And we are grateful for that because we were given a lot. It´s time to give back.
He then outlined the priorities of the incoming Slovak Presidency, which he qualified as ambitious:
- a stronger European economy – linked to environment and the strengthening of the economic union.
- the Single Market giving priority to energy and the digital economy – the reduction of energy dependence constitutes a priority; Slovakia is also committed to continue the intensive work on the implementation of the Digital Single Market strategy, which turned one year on 6 May this year.
- migration and asylum policy – a solution to the migration crisis envisaged through cohesion and a proper functioning of the Schengen area.
- trade and enlargement policy – Slovaks are keen on an open economy but want to preserve the high level of EU standards; they also want to maintain the credibility of the European Neighborhood Policy through a common European response.
we do not want to reduce our role to being just a crisis manager. We will promote comprehensive solutions linking all relevant internal and external aspects.
Minister Lajčák insisted on the pragmatic approach of the Slovak Presidency:
…in pursuing our vision and priorities, Slovakia will be an honest broker, a credible player, a visionary manager, an unbiased negotiator and a fair mediator.
The website of the incoming Slovak Presidency is available here.
For access to the European Parliamentary Research Service Guest Blogger Dora Boytha (Office of the Deputy Secretary-General) post, click here.
For further reading on the issues of the Slovak Presidency, browse through our catalogue.