I. Korčok v Paríži: “EÚ sa už musí pohnúť od úvah ku konkrétnym riešeniam problémov.”
Korčok in Paris: “EU must move from contemplations to concrete solutions to problems"
France played a decisive role in the formation of Czechoslovakia 100 years ago and this fact resonated during the meeting of Ivan Korčok, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, and Aleš Chmelař, State Secretary for European Affairs at the Czech Government´s Office, with Nathalie Loiseau, French Minister for European Affairs, in Paris today (30 January 2018). The working meeting was incidentally held in one of the salons of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic where a hundred years ago the founding fathers of Czechoslovakia – Tomáš G. Masaryk, M. R. Štefánik and Eduard Beneš were active.
As Korčok stated, the Slovak Republic sees France as a very important partner at both the European and bilateral level. This can be ascertained based on 25 years of successful cooperation and the strategic partnership in the last decade, which was agreed and signed during the visit of the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico to Paris in September 2008. According to Korčok nowadays we have practically the most concrete dialogue with Paris about EU reforms. “There are many things on which we agree and on which we share the same or very similar views. However, this doesn’t mean that we agree on everything without any reservation. However, France has significantly been a driver of changes in Europe and we acknowledge that it is necessary to move forward from contemplations to concrete solutions to problems. The discussions about the EU’s future must move ahead as we have already promised solutions since the British referendum and we are still postponing them – even with objective reasons like elections in many EU countries,” stated Korčok in this regard, adding that now the matter of priority must be to persuade citizens that we are able to bring the EU through the crisis. As for migration and the stance of the Slovak Republic and the V4 countries on the mandatory quotas on reallocation of migrants, Korčok stated that we fully respect the principle of solidarity in the EU and we are ready to contribute to solving the issue. “We must, however, search for such solutions that will really help and will not cause any harm. The model, in which most EU states out vote a minority to force unacceptable solutions will lead to useless creation of new dividing lines in Europe and finally to the harm of all of us. Slovakia does have solidarity – we have shown this with financial contributions but we also offer a concept of assistance that has proved to work in our cooperation with Austria in Gabčíkovo,” stated Korčok.
Korčok used the working consultations with the Minister for European Affairs of France to commemorate the historic anniversaries in 2018 – including the 100 years since Czechoslovakia was founded, in which France played a key role. This is the reason why the talks with Loiseau were also joined by Aleš Chmelař, State Secretary for European Affairs of the Czech Government Office.
The bilateral cooperation and the issues of Europe’s future also dominated Korčok´s meeting with Clément Beaune and Philippe Étienne, advisers to the French President. They agreed that the EU needs to adapt to the changing environment – to enable greater integration wherever it brings added value, to concentrate on finalizing key projects such as the banking union and digital market, and to improve communication with EU citizens. “That´s also why we welcomed the stimuli to open a public discussion on the EU’s future, including the French proposal to organize national conventions in EU states. As for the wide public discussion on the EU, Slovakia has ample know-how based on our own experience with this format and we are ready to share it with other EU member countries," stated Korčok. This year the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry is preparing a project of eight discussion events on the EU within the National Convention on our EU membership and the related advantages. The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic conveyed invitations to these counterparts to attend the events.
Following the official part of the program, in the evening Korčok gave a speech opening the official concert in the historic seat of the Czechoslovak National Council in Paris on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, as well as the year in which we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.