Prejav predsedu vlády SR Roberta Fica na fóre GLOBSEC v anglickom jazyku


Statement by H.E. Robert Fico Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic at GLOBSEC 2012 – Bratislava Global Security Forum
(Bratislava, 12 April 2012)

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to thank the organisers of the Globsec Forum for providing this unique opportunity to address such a distinguished audience at the very outset of my second mandate as the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The elections in Slovakia have brought unprecedented results. One party will bear full responsibility for the government. I wish to use this opportunity to stress: my government will treat the support from our citizens in the most responsible manner. The values that we share with our partners and allies in the EU and NATO will guide us in our decisions and policies!

Slovakia will soon celebrate the 20th year of her independence. 20 years are considered an age of maturity. Our foreign policy will be such – mature, responsible and active. We will honour our commitments. We will work hard to promote our shared values and interests regionally and globally. Slovakia currently chairs the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). Slovak judge chairs the International Court of Justice. Slovak diplomats are in the position of the vice-president of the European Commission, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representatives for Afghanistan and for Central Asia. Our diplomats have played important role in the developments in the Western Balkans. These are just a few achievements of our diplomacy that show our global engagement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The most acute challenge is the consolidation of the situation in the EU. The EU is facing a financial and economic crisis, but to certain extent also a crisis of trust and confidence. When the European project started, its aim was to maintain international peace. Today, Europe is not facing invaders. Yet, there is an “army” of frustrated, socially vulnerable, unemployed people without job and perspective. This may easily be accompanied by emerging extremist, nationalist or xenophobe approaches. The peace, we have to protect in Europe today is not necessarily international peace, it is rather the social peace.

The previous Slovak government fell apart due to differing opinions on the future of the EU and the position of Slovakia in it. Slovak citizens gave us a very clear answer. Pro-European parties gained an overwhelming support in the elections. The new Slovak government is fully aware of this clear and strong mandate and we will honour it. Please have no doubt, that even in these difficult times for the EU, the Slovak government stands firmly on pro-European positions and truly believes in the European project.

After 8 years in the EU, let me make one courageous statement: Slovakia is not a “new member state” of the EU anymore. We are in the Schengen, we are a member of the eurozone. We are in the core of the European integration. We want to stay there. We want to remain a firm, reliable and active member of the club. We want to make the club stronger, competitive and we want to expand it. We want to be the engine of the European integration in the Central European region. That is in short our European policy for the next four years.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our readiness to be at the forefront of the European integration in our region has a solid base in the high level of co-operation with our neighbours and partners in the region.

We have managed to build mostly excellent relations with our neighbours. If there had been instances of differing approaches or opinions, we have always been ready to discuss them. And we remain ready to do so, again and again, whenever our partners are willing and prepared.

In addition to bilateral co-operation, we created the Visegrad group, which has already become a trademark known in Europe, North Atlantic and beyond.

I want to stress, that we fully respect the right of every state for us choose its own path of achieving its goals. Yet, we believe that the European way is the best way. We therefore wish to promote and deepen the European integration in our region. Let me mention just a few examples:

- We want to be a leader in maintaining European commitments. We are committed to bring the budget deficit below the 3% of the GDP in 2013. We want to ensure smooth ratification of the amendment of Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, the ESM Treaty and the Fiscal Compact Treaty. I very much hope that these treaties will receive very strong support in our new Parliament throughout the political spectrum.

- We want to prove that it is possible to have responsible budgetary policy on the one hand and economic growth on the other hand. We want to prove that it is possible to make structural reforms in a socially acceptable manner.

- We want to continue building cross-border infrastructure. Interconnecting transport and energy infrastructure with neighbours is crucial to promote European integration and to improve the internal cohesion of the Union.

- During the Slovak V4 presidency, we have undertaken to build a Visegrad EU Battlegroup by 2016 for the benefit of both the EU and NATO. We remain committed to this goal and stay opened to other ideas on how to improve defence capabilities in the V4 framework.

- Slovakia will continue to strongly advocate the enlargement of European and Euro-Atlantic zone of stability and prosperity to the south and to the east of our continent.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our regional policies are not limited to our immediate neighbourhood. Slovakia has been a souond supporter of the EU and NATO enlargement processes. We were the first country to ratify the Croatian accession treaty to the EU. Let me emphasise that it was ratified by the Members of Parliament throughout our political spectrum. The new Slovak government will cherish this political consensus and will build upon it. We have no doubt that the Balkans is Europe and the EU would not be complete without the Balkans.

We want Croatian entry to the EU not to be a successful conclusion of a process, but a successful beginning for the whole region. We will require credible progress from candidate countries. We will encourage them to do their best not just individually, but also together in a regional framework, just like we did in the Visegrad Group.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

What I said concerning the Western Balkans fits to some extent also to our Eastern partners . We believe that the Eastern Partnership was created not to substitute, but to promote the European integration.

We will continue strongly supporting the Eastern Partnership programme. For the Eastern Partners to succeed, they should prove strong commitment to carrying out reforms and adherence to principles and values cherished in the EU. The situation in the individual Eastern Partnership countries differs very much. The Eastern partners should, last but not least, pay more attention also to each other and to exert regional, not only individual, efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Though I paid much attention to the EU, please, have no doubt about our commitments to NATO. NATO continues to be the cornerstone of our security. Maintaining the transatlantic bond strong remains our vital interest. Yet, even in this partnership the stability and strength of Europe is crucial. The success of the EU and NATO is indivisible.

We have never seen NATO only as a strong umbrella under which we can hide. We are ready to share the burden. Slovakia has been one of the strongest contributors to ISAF in troops per capita. We understand that a democratic, stable and secure Afghanistan is crucial both for NATO’s credibility and stability in the region. We are ready to sustain our presence as long as necessary. We will coordinate its form and scope with our partners. However, you can see assurances of our commitment in the fact that already today, Afghanistan is one of three major programme countries of our Official Development Aid.

Equally, we are aware how important it is to bridge the gap between our ambitions and capabilities. We have to do that in a period of financial austerity and budgetary responsibility. We know we have to be smart . We know, we have to do, what is natural among friends and allies - we have to pool and share  resources. In Central Europe, we are lucky enough to have the V4. We have already decided to form a EU Visegrad Battlegroup by 2016. In our preparations for Chicago, we will examine possibilities how to use V4 cooperation in the field of security. During this conference, some of the most prominent experts will provide us with food for thought. The V4 proved its ability to make our countries leaders of the EU and NATO enlargement processes. Why couldn’t the V4 be at the forefront of the smart defence efforts?

Last but not least, one of the most efficient tools to promote our values, to expand the area of peace and stability, and to make NATO stronger, is to bring new allies into the club. I want to express our strong and continued commitment to the open-door policy of NATO. Our experience shows, that NATO enlargement is a difficult but also a beneficial process. Beneficial to the applicants and beneficial to the Alliance. I would therefore like to encourage both the applicant states and our Allies to spare no effort to make the enlargement a success story again. I believe that before my government concludes its mandate, our Alliance should welcome new members.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are facing one of the most difficult periods in the EU since its creation. European and transatlantic unity are extremely important in this situation. We may have our petty quarrels or bilateral problems. But they are not important right now. We should concentrate on consolidating our economies. We need to strengthen social peace in our societies. Strong and coherent societies can then serve as a solid foundation for strengthening our communities – the EU and NATO. We have not yet lost this battle. But we cannot hesitate anymore.

The worst thing we could do now would be loosing faith. Our accession to the EU and NATO, our joining the eurozone, were not simple pragmatic, utilitarian, ad hoc decisions. They were strategic decisions taken consensually by all the major political forces in Slovakia. The only successful referendum in the history of Slovakia was that on the accession to the EU. We will build on this consensus in our society. We will draw strength from it. And we will seek partners ready to join us in this effort in Europe and beyond.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In conclusion, let me thank again the organisers for the opportunity to address this unique forum. I wish you all a lot of thought-provoking and fruitful discussions. I wish the conference to be even more successful as it was in the previous years.
I thank you for your attention.

Prejav predsedu vlády SR na fóre GLOBSEC