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Miroslav Lajčák Speaks at the Central European Forum at Château Béla

Miroslav Lajčák Speaks at the Central European Forum at Château Béla

7.12.2019 | Aktivity ministra

Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, attended today (December 7, 2019) the 11th annual Château Béla Strategic Forum as one of the keynote speakers on the theme “Is the EU ready for the Disrupted World?”. Miroslav Lajčák concluded that the current situation in the world should not be underestimated and should not be overdramatized. He recalled, in this regard, that the beginning of the EU itself many years ago was determined by a disrupted situation in the world back then. During the past several decades, it was the West that dominated the world, and the current international situation reflects the fact that several other global players are trying to catch up with and undermine this dominance. It is visibly evident that the EU has all the prerequisites to be the world leader – it has the biggest market in the world, the second biggest expenditure on defence, and the biggest budget in the area of development aid. According to the minister, the Union, however, does not utilize these or other capacities sufficiently; to the contrary, the Union itself has been struggling with several internal challenges.

 

The chief Slovak diplomat then also took part in the forum discussion focused on the strategy for a larger Europe, which was dedicated primarily to the future of the EU and the neighbourhood policy. In this regard, he emphasized that primary attention must be drawn to the region of the Western Balkans and the related process of further EU enlargement and to the Eastern Partnership programme. The minister repeatedly expressed his disillusionment over the decision of the European Council not to invite North Macedonia and Albania to accession negotiations. “The loss of the prospect to join the EU as a certain strategic compass may, after all, lead to the rise of nationalism in the countries of the Western Balkans and increase the clout of third party actors and destabilize the situation,” warned Miroslav Lajčák. In this regard, he referred to the fact that such step would not automatically mean membership in the EU, but it would signal an acknowledgment of the fact that the candidate countries had fulfilled the prerequisites necessary for them to enter another phase of the accession process. Miroslav Lajčák also accentuated that the prospect of EU membership would also mean a positive influence on the region itself. “However, it also has the opposite effect – without stabilising its nearest neighbourhood, the EU cannot be a global player,” stated the Slovak minister. He further dedicated part of his speech to the post-Soviet region and the countries of the Eastern Partnership (also) in the context of Slovakia’s activities as part of its chairmanship in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE Ministerial Council took place on 5-6 December 2019, in Bratislava.

 

By tradition, the Château Béla Strategic Forum is organised by the non-governmental organisation GLOBSEC and is attended by experts on international relations from European countries and the United States of America.