Since 1 July 2016, Slovakia holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the very first time. For six months, Slovakia will have a leading role in consulting and cooperating with – and mediating and compromising between - the member states of the European Union.
Holding the Presidency is a historic moment for a small country that used to be part of the Eastern communist bloc. Overlooked for centuries, this region with its constitutional beginning after the First World War is now being talked about all over the developed Western countries. Such enthusiasm is however being tempered by issues beyond national or regional capacities: the refugee crisis, Greek financial crisis and above all, the outcome of the UK referendum. In addition, the Slovak commitment to developing the digital market and the energy union will not leave the Slovak administration idle.
ECPM MEP Branislav Škripek from Slovakia: "No matter how beautiful Slovakia is, using this opportunity for promoting our natural sights and culture would not be enough. There is the spiritual heritage of Cyril and Methodius that was not destroyed; neither by fascism nor by communism. We are witnessing the failure or impotence of traditional political parties which goes hand in hand with the rise of populist and radical ideas in extremist parties. The Slovak Presideny has a chance to speak about values flowing from the Gospels. They can create a reasonable and sustainable opposition to emerging radical powers all over Europe. In the long term, Slovakia can show its citizens that the EU is much more than generous eurofunds and incomprehensible legislation from Brussels.
We all need hope: hope for Slovaks and other Eastern European countries to prove the wisdom of our membership; hope for Europe, that countries in its Eastern region have definitely left any sentiment of communism and the Russian legacy behind; and hope that we have not forgotten core Christian values, Europe's heritage and the enthusiasm of the founding fathers of the European Union."