Slovakia says EU enlargement is "priority" of its presidency

Slovakia is the only of the three EU countries that will hold the bloc's presidency this year and in 2017, that sees EU's enlargement as a main priority.

Source: Tanjug
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(Thinkstock)

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak made this statement as his country was taking over the 6-month rotating presidency on July 1.

According to him, Slovakia will be a fair and impartial mediator in the process for all countries that are on that path.

Lajcak in this way replied when Tanjug asked about Bratislava's attitude toward the enlargement process, especially when it comes to Serbia, bearing in mind Brexit, and "what Slovakia will do to enable the opening of chapter 23, and others."

Slovakia took over the EU presidency from the Netherlands and will hand it over to Malta at the end of the year. Lajcak yesterday presented the priorities of the presidency.

"When it comes to the enlargement process our goal is to preserve the credibility of that policy and that is why we have set it as one of our four priorities. We hope that during our presidency it will be possible to achieve concrete progress in the accession process of the Western Balkans and Turkey," said Lajcak.

Lajcak emphasized that progress depends "primarily on the efforts of the countries aspiring to EU membership."

"Slovakia will, as chair of the EU, be a fair and impartial mediator in the process. Aspirants and candidates are in various stages of the integration process. Our approach and the way in which we will help them will vary accordingly," Lajcak added.

Every country in the accession process "knows very well what it should do in order to achieve progress on this path," said the Slovak minister.

"Real, tangible progress and fulfillment of obligations is the best way to prove their commitment. It also contributes to eliminating the slightest shadow of skepticism in the EU and convinces member-states to take a successful candidate to the next phase of the integration process," he concluded.

Also on Thursday, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that his country will, during its presidency of the European Union, seek to be "a moderator who, like the Danube River, connects the whole of Europe."

"However, Slovakia will not be afraid to say openly that certain European policies do not have the support of European citizens," said Fico.

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