Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic

02/19/2021 | Press release | Archived content

Martin Klus: “The EU Single Market is the backbone of our economy also in the times of corona crisis. Maintaining the smooth cross-border movement of goods is in Slovakia’s[...]

'The adoption of disproportionate measures and creating obstacles in the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is in any case accompanied by a number of limitations, is only another threat for supply chains. To guarantee the uninterrupted functioning of the internal single market, we have implemented the Green Lanes so that the freight drivers should not be required to comply with too complicated procedures for submitting documentation, various certificates or negative test results, naturally, with the exception of an identification document and a driver's license.'

This was the statement of the State Secretary of the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry, Martin Klus, on Thursday, 18 February 2021 in Bratislava, during the video conference of the chief coordinators of the European topics (sherpas) of the government leaders of almost 20 like-minded European Union member states.

The main topics of the online talks, held at the initiative of Finland, were the opportunities for the further strengthening of the resilience of the single market, the digital agenda, as well as the update of the European Industrial Strategy, which is under preparation and geared toward the support of industry and maintaining its competitiveness.

The Slovak Foreign and European Affairs State Secretary used the video conference as an opportunity to point to the restriction by Germany, based on which since mid-February also Slovak cross-border transporters and freight drivers face a number of complications and obstacles when entering the country.

'Disproportionate measures such as the requirement for a registration and a negative COVID-19 test result that is not older than 48 hours are only hardly feasible for the vast majority transporters. Moreover, such complications directly endanger supplies for the industry in Slovakia, and at the same time they can create a domino effect and potentially influence other EU countries,' stated Klus.

Slovakia continues to disagree with the restrictions, due to which the supply chains are endangered and called upon an early solution to the problem so as to maintain the smooth cross-border movement of goods.

In relation to the revival of the European economy after the corona crisis, the partners agreed that the return to the functioning of the single market to the form before the pandemics will not be enough anymore. The EU member states must learn from the current crisis and complete the construction of the internal market by preserving an open economy without useless obstacles.

'We must increase the resilience of the internal market. We cannot produce everything at home; therefore, it is necessary to be open to world trade and investments, which bring advantages to European companies and consumers. Our efforts in the support of the production and investments in Europe should also be focused on providing long-term investments in ecological and digital solutions including new technologies. For Slovakia it is of crucial importance that our industry remains globally competitive also during the process of the green transformation, stated State Secretary of the diplomacy ministry during the video conference of sherpas.

He also added that another way to strengthen the resilience of the EU is to build technology sovereignty and deepen the digital single market. In Klus' view, a part of this must also include the promotion of the common values of the Union and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms including personal data protection or prevention of censorship or violation of the freedom of speech. In this regard he highlighted a pair of legislative drafts on digital services - the Digital Service Act (DSA) and the Digital Market Act (DMA), the common ambition of which is to set new European rules for digital services.