Slovakia

Slovak Foreign Policy Association

Doubts about Turkish EU membership – No recognition of Kosovo

Slovak Foreign Policy Association

Slovakia as a member state of the EU has been a general supporter of the policy of further enlargement. As Table 1 illustrates, the official attitude of the political elite corresponds with the public opinion on this issue. However, a more comprehensive analysis of the public opinion shows that the support by the Slovaks is a fuzzy one. When asked, almost 78 percent of Slovaks agree with inviting other countries to join the EU in the future but at the same time they also think that the EU should not enlarge too fast (Eurobarometer surveys). The most cited concerns of Slovak population with regard to further enlargement are connected with possible economic influence of the future enlargement on the member states of the EU as well as with the doubts about the “value orientation” of some candidate countries. Following the development of popular support for further EU enlargement it is possible to observe slight but continual decline of the support among Slovaks. Even if the trends are negative, compared to EU-27 average support of the future enlargement (46%), Slovakia still belongs among the strong supporters.  
 
Table 1: Future Enlargement
Attitude/Year
2004
2005
2006
2007
In favour
69 %
67 %
69 %
59 %
Against
17 %
19 %
21 %
30 %
Do not know
14 %
13 %
11 %
11 %

EU still focused on institutional issues

Slovak Foreign Policy Association


The Prime Minister is interested in EU affairs especially in relation to the short-term domestic issues of Slovakia. At the Summit of the European Council on June 19-20, 2008 the Prime Minister Fico expressed his disappointment about the fact that after the unsuccessful Irish referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon the leaders of the EU were still focused on institutional issues “which don’t mean anything for the people” instead of addressing the problems of “unprecedented high prices of oil and groceries”.[1] The Foreign Ministry urged the search for a way out of the crisis. There were no other specific official reactions to the failed Irish referendum. In general, politicians have not anticipated any fundamental consequences for the EU or for Slovakia as a result of the failure to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.
 



[1] TASR, 20.6.2008.

Open timetable for ratification

Slovak Foreign Policy Association

The majority of Slovakia’s politicians welcomed the signing of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2007. In fact, there is only one parliamentary party – the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) – that does not support the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty. The members of parliament representing the KDH use the same arguments against the Lisbon Treaty that they used in opposing the EU Constitution. They object the legally binding nature of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and criticize further transfer of competencies to the level of the EU. However, all other parliamentary parties have consistently favoured the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty.
 

Slovakia’s support of the EU goals meets little public attention

Slovak Foreign Policy Association

Vladimír Bilčík
 
There has not been any real public debate on global climate negotiations following the results of the climate conference in Copenhagen. Slovakia has focused on other public policy challenges and in 2010 Prime Minister Fico’s government even decided to abolish the Ministry of Environment and merge it with the Ministry of Agriculture. The forthcoming coalition government, led by Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, already indicated that it would preserve the Ministry of Environment.
 
During the negotiations in Copenhagen, Slovakia followed the EU mandate for negotiations and strongly endorsed the EU’s red lines. Slovakia also pledged about 9 million Euros toward financing mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries.[1]


[1] Euractiv.sk: Helena Princová: V Kodani vládne “rozpačitá atmosféra”, 15 December 2009, available at: http://www.euractiv.sk/zivotne-prostredie/interview/helena-princova-v-ko... (last access: 29 June 2010).

A stabilising factor of Slovakia’s financial sector got into crisis

Slovak Foreign Policy Association

Vladimír Bilčík
 
Despite initial estimates in late 2008 that did not expect very considerable influence of the financial crisis on Slovakia’s economy, Slovakia recorded a deep dip in its economic performance in 2009. In addition, the Euro, which brought comparable stability to Slovakia’s financial sector with the finalisation of Slovakia’s Eurozone entry, was suddenly in a crisis caused by the dire economic and financial situation in Greece. In 2009, Slovakia followed the path of other Eurozone countries when it introduced the unlimited deposit guarantee immediately after the proposal by the European Commission. Although several possibilities were discussed as alternatives to the unlimited deposit guarantee, the overpowering explanation for the unlimited deposit guarantee were the similar reactions of other EU countries and thus an attempt at sustaining Slovakia’s competitive edge.[1]
 

Enlargement favoured but not at any price

Slovak Foreign Policy Association

Vladimír Bilčík
 
Historically, Slovakia has been a strong supporter of enlargement, though in recent years the country’s position has become more nuanced. Most consistently, Slovakia’s politicians have supported Croatia’s bid to enter the European Union. Shortly after Slovakia’s accession to the EU, the country was unhappy with the initial Council’s decision to postpone the opening of accession talks with Croatia beyond March 2004. The then Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda was a vocal advocate and one of the driving forces of Croatia’s swift incorporation into the Union. Slovakia’s diplomacy thus continued to push for a re-examination of the Council’s decision and was happy to welcome the compromise solution whereby both Croatia and Turkey officially began their respective accession talks on 3 October (or the early hours of 4 October) 2005. In the aftermath of the launch of official talks with the two countries, Prime Minister Dzurinda stated during his press conference that Slovakia would offer Croatia cooperation in negotiations on the various chapters of the acquis. At the same time, the Prime Minister said that Slovakia would try to see both Ukraine and Serbia and Montenegro enter the same path of European integration.[1]
 

The parliamentary elections in June 2010

Slovak Foreign Policy Association

Vladimír Bilčík

Close scrutiny of rotating presidency in light of Slovakia’s turn in 2016

Slovak Foreign Policy Association

Vladimír Bilčík
 
Since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force in December 2009, Slovakia’s representatives have been assessing the practical changes in the EU’s institutional architecture rather sporadically. Slovakia’s politicians were consumed with the domestic agenda while campaigning before the country’s parliamentary elections on 12 June 2010. EU institutional issues did not figure prominently in Slovakia’s political debates in the months before the elections. Rather, the salient topics included questions about managing the economic crisis, including, for instance, intensive debates about the financial situation in Greece. Interest in EU institutional reform was largely confined to Slovakia’s diplomats and foreign policy-makers, especially those who are present in Brussels either at the country’s Permanent Representation or in other institutions such as the European Parliament and the European Commission.
 

Slovakia and domestic discourse on energy security and Single European Market

Slovakia
Slovak Foreign Policy Association
 
The beginning of 2009 was affected by a shutdown of gas supplies from the Russian Federation. The Russian-Ukrainian row pointed out Slovakia’s weakness in dependency on Russian natural gas and in its domestic management of gas reserves. The government insisted from the beginning of the crisis that it would sustain supplies to households and therefore industries, especially car and steel production, which were asked to limit their activities. However, with the continuing crisis Slovakia would not have been able to draw sufficient gas reserves even to satisfy all household consumption. Thanks to close cooperation with the Czech Republic and France and Germany gas was supplied to Slovakia from foreign reserves and through a pipeline in the Czech Republic.