Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic

07/15/2022 | Press release | Archived content

Martin Klus in Prague: We support the priorities of the Czech Presidency in the Council of the EU, placing the sovereignty, territorial integrity and post-war recovery of[...]

15.7.2022 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | Európska únia | Slovensko a Európska únia | Martin Klus |

"The Czech Presidency will face serious challenges - military aggression in a neighboring country, the unprecedented influx of refugees and a pressing need for a redesign of the EU energy policy. The priorities of the Czech Presidency reflect the topics we must talk about in the EU right now. I cannot imagine other priorities and we thank our Czech friends for them."

This was stated by State Secretary of the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry of the Slovak Republic (MFEA SR) Martin Klus following an informal session of the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Prague on Friday, 15 July 2022. The meeting of the ministers and state secretaries for European Affairs of the European Union (EU) member countries was organized by the Czech Republic, which took over the half-year Presidency in the Council of the EU as of 1 July.

The ministers and state secretaries for European Affairs discussed the reinforcing of support for Ukraine as well as the resilience of democratic institutions that have a significant influence on maintaining and developing values of democracy and the rule of law in the EU. These topics include the transparent financing of political parties, independence as well as transparency and media ethics, open dialogue with citizens, reinforcing freedoms and European values, including in the online environment.

"Today we have also spoken about the freedom of speech, independent media and the protection of journalists. In Slovakia we have learned the lesson in a very tragic way about how fragile the freedom of media and independent journalism based on facts and ethical principles can be. This is our message to Europe and the world," emphasized Klus.

In relation to the protection of democracy and freedom, he also drew attention to the challenges related to the spread of disinformation and fake news, the polarization of society and hate speeche, cyber security and the protection of free elections.

At the informal lunch the ministers and state secretaries also tackled implementation of the adopted conclusions and civic proposals arising from the Conference on the Future of Europe. The discussion focused on the possibilities for a greater engagement by citizens in the process of forming European policies and the need to change fundamental Union treaties.

"Lately in the follow-up to the Conference on the Future of Europe, the revision of EU treaties has been mentioned more and more. We think that the treaties in their current wording still have great potential and many of the key citizens´ requirements can be met as part of the existing frameworks. Primarily we want to search for quick and consensual solutions within the existing treaties," stated the State Secretary of the diplomacy ministry Klus.

He also added that Slovakia is not against a discussion on the revision of the treaties - however, it must be clear in advance what concrete benefits these changes to the treaties would bring to citizens.

On the sidelines of the informal GAC session the State Secretary met with A. Chmelář, the former Czech national coordinator for the Slavkov format (S3), who handed over to him a symbolic baton of the S3 Presidency, which Slovakia took over on 1 July 2022. He also talked with the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of the Czech Republic J. Kozák on topics including bilateral issues as well as energy and the synchronization of the Czech Presidency in the Council of the EU and Slovakia´s Presidency in the Visegrad Group and the Slavkov format.