02. 07. 2018 16:09
As of Sunday, Slovakia is the presiding country of the Visegrad Four (V4) formation (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) under the slogan 'A Dynamic Visegrad for Europe'. The programme of the one-year-long presidency will rest on three main pillars: a strong Europe, a safe environment and smart solutions.
"We're taking over the presidency at a relatively sensitive political time, when Europe has many unresolved questions, but here I want to be a constructive partner who comes up with constructive solutions," said Pellegrini at the time. According to the Slovak premier, the Slovak presidency's aim is to deliver specific results for the benefit of V4 citizens.
The Slovak Defence Ministry also announced its priorities for the presidency. According to its spokesperson Danka Capáková, they include the preparation of the EU's fighting group, the common defence of airspace and cooperation within EU's security program Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)
Czech political scientist Ladislav Cabada of the Metropolitan University Prague said that the programme of the Slovak presidency suggests a disagreement within the V4. "I can't imagine, however, that the governments of other countries can agree that maintaining Slovakia within the EU core is such a priority that, if necessary, they will sacrifice some of their own ideas about how to create a new EU budget," stressed Cabada.
According to Darina Malová from the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Arts of Comenius University in Bratislava, the Slovak priorities themselves are vague, but this is often the case for V4 presidencies. She said that she believes that Slovakia will face the challenge of correcting the negative image that the group has gained with its attitude towards migration. The good name of the past that the V4 gained thanks to the work of the International Visegrad Fund has been eclipsed by poorly managed communication by the group about the migration crisis.
Slovakia is presiding over the Visegrad Four for the fifth time. The last time was in 2014-15 under the slogan 'A Dynamic Visegrad in the EU and the World'. After Slovakia finishes its fifth presidency of the V4 next year, the Czech Republic will take over in July 2019.