Merkel in Bratislava - EU funds, Vietnamese businessman and 1989

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Merkel in Bratislava - EU funds, Vietnamese businessman and 1989

08. 02. 2019 14:06

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel came to Bratislava on Thursday to participate in the meeting of leaders of the V4 countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland). She also held a bilateral meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini who reiterated that Germany is the most important trade market for Slovakia. "It is logical that the key interest of our country is to have good relations with Germany," Pellegrini told the press conference held after his meeting with Merkel. Similarly, Angela Merkel highlighted cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the automotive industry. "Given the fact that Slovakia has only 5.4 million inhabitants, it has a very good trade balance with Germany," she said. The Sme daily reported that the two politicians had also discussed the case of the Vietnamese businessman Trinh Xuan Thanh, who was kidnapped in Germany and transported to Vietnam through Slovakia, also using the country's governmental plane. "I don't have any doubts that Slovakia is doing everything to investigate this abduction," Merkel told the press. The investigation teams are collecting evidence, Pellegrini added.

The main topics of the meeting of the German Chancellor with V4 leaders were the preparation of the new financial framework of the EU, the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, the future of the EU and the 30th anniversary of the change of regimes in central European countries.

As Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said at the joint press conference held after this meeting, the changes in 1989 enabled these countries to contribute to the European integration process. "This is why we adopted a joint declaration to remember the importance of these changes for the central European region," announced Pellegrini.

According to the German Chancellor, the V4 countries have made efficient use of EU finances in terms of increasing the life standard. The new EU budget should be prepared in order to sustain this development. "There is the will to lessen the bureaucracy and have the most funds possible to build a strong economy," said Merkel in regard to the new 2021-2027 financial frame. At the press conference following the meeting, the leaders were talking about migration. "We recognise Schengen, which is why we need both legal migration and border protection," Merkel said, as quoted by the Sme daily. To achieve controlled migration, it is necessary to maintain good relations with neighbours, one of which is also Morocco, she added. As the Slovak Prime Minister informed, all the participants agreed on launching a joint project in Morocco in the following months, to help stop migration to Europe.

The Dennik N daily noted that Angela Merkel also responded to questions regarding the Nord Stream gas pipeline, stressing that it is necessary to ensure that Ukraine remains a transit country and diversify sources. "We don't want to be dependent on Russia, but Russia was already a source of natural gas during the Cold War," Merkel said, adding that this would likely not change.

The V4 prime ministers and Angela Merkel did not talk about the violations of rule of law principles in Hungary and Poland. This is the subject of talks between the member states and the EC, Merkel said, at the press conference broadcast live by the public RTVS.

Martina Šimkovičová, Photo: TASR

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