11/27/2021 | Press release | Archived content
"I used my visit to Paris and bilateral talks with my French partner Clement Beaune to make a clear assurance that Slovakia will be a constructive partner during the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the process of finding solutions to all issues with the aim to move citizens' quality of life forward. I do not mean only economic or social issues, but also, for example, the rule of law, which is one of the priorities of the French Presidency, which will begin on 1 January 2022. In this context, I emphasized that Slovakia has ambitions to become the bearer of the topic of journalists at a European level and I've asked our French friends to cooperate. We also welcome the fact that the French Presidency's priorities include progress in the fight against climate change and the successful culmination of the Conference on the Future of Europe, whose outcome will determine the shape of the future of the EU and Slovakia."
This was stated by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Martin Klus, on Friday, November 26, 2021, in Paris, during a meeting with Clément Beaune, State Secretary of European Affairs of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic. During the working meeting initiated by the Slovak side, the partners addressed current European policy issues. In connection with the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, they agreed, among other things, on the need to speed up coordination at the EU level on the validity of the so-called digital COVID certificates in relation to the third dose booster of the vaccine.
In connection with the rule of law, State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of the Slovak Republic, Martin Klus, stated that "The EU is a community of values that should unite and not divide member states. We should focus on deepening a constructive, objective and non-discriminatory dialogue in order to avoid the further unnecessary escalation of tensions within the Union." However, he also added that we, EU member states, have committed ourselves to unified application of EU law and thus the entire collection of legislative rules and regulations should apply in its entirety.
The partners also touched on rising energy prices and the future direction of EU climate policy, including the new Fit for 55 legislative package.
"We have a great opportunity to shape a healthier future and environment for ourselves, but, at the same time, we must not forget about rising energy prices, which for our citizens is a very sensitive issue. Nuclear energy, without the use of which Slovakia will not be able to meet climate goals, as well as the temporary use of gas, contribute to the stability of the electricity market," said Martin Klus. He added that Slovakia does not question long-term ambitions and climate goals, it simply calls for respecting the principles of technological neutrality.
In his talks with his French partner Clément Beaune, Martin Klus reminded him that, with regards to the stagnant accession process concerning the EU's enlargement policy to include the countries of the Western Balkans, that Slovakia considers the enlargement policy to be a strategic tool of the EU.
"Enlargement was once the EU's most successful policy, but today it is a source of frustration. By hesitating, the Union bears a certain share of responsibility for this situation. If we want the EU to be a global leader, we must also have a strategic vision for our immediate neighbourhood, including the Western Balkans. The opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should take place without further delay, as both countries have already met all the requirements," recalled the State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of the Slovak Republic.
Martin Klus's agenda in Paris also included his participation in an event linked to France's upcoming six-month presidency of the Council of the EU. The main topic of the informal meeting of the State Secretaries of European Affairs and the Secretaries-General of the EU Member States was, in particular, the priorities of the French Presidency.
"I also used one of the very first events of the forthcoming French Presidency to reiterate that citizens must be at the center of our attention not only during the Conference on the Future of Europe, but also once it ends. We must ensure that the voices of citizens are heard and carefully considered in the process of shaping the future direction of the EU," said Martin Klus.
He further added that the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic also organizes various events with the widest possible involvement of the general public. The State Secretary also described to his partners the current activities of the Slovak Conference on the Future of Europe, including the Summer Roadshow in the different regions throughout Slovakia, the expert National Convention on the EU or the Back to School project, during which members of our diplomatic service discuss the functioning of the European Union with pupils and students.