Slovakia is a partner for stability in the eurozone
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle met with his counterpart from Slovakia, Miroslav Lajčák, on his inaugural visit to Berlin on 10 May. The talks focused on dealing with the current crisis in the eurozone. They also discussed the current situation in Europe’s neighbourhood, above all in Ukraine. The talks dealt with the difficult state of affairs in other countries such as Syria, too.
Westerwelle told Lajčák how much the close cooperation between Germany and Slovakia was appreciated. Westerwelle said that the fact that the new Foreign Minister of Slovakia had come to Germany on his second bilateral visit was “a sign of recognition of the partnership, the friendship, and of course also the political, economic, and cultural cooperation between our countries”. Slovakia’s Foreign Minister emphasized that both countries maintained an “excellent political dialogue in a number of areas”. Germany, he continued, was a strategic partner for Slovakia and its biggest trading partner, adding that he looked forward to continuing to work together.
Budgetary discipline and growth for Europe
The German Foreign Minister underlined both countries’ shared approach to dealing with the current crisis in Europe: “Slovakia is a true partner for us for stability in the eurozone.” Lajčák said that Slovakia “expressly supports the fiscal compact and the European Stability Mechanism”. Both men agreed that budget consolidation was an important element of the crisis strategy, but not sufficient on its own. “Europe needs budgetary discipline and growth. Those elements do not contradict each other; they are two sides of the same coin,” said Westerwelle. In addition to the fiscal compact for less debt, there must also be a growth compact for more competitiveness, he went on. National structural reforms, he said, were to be supported by using European funds to promote growth. Lajčák said that the causes of the crisis could not be fought without jobs and growth.
Slovakia’s biggest neighbour: Ukraine
Other topics were also discussed, such as the situation in Europe’s neighbourhood and also in other regions of the world. Both ministers were concerned about the situation in Ukraine. Ukraine is Slovakia’s biggest neighbour. Westerwelle and Lajčák called on Ukraine to finally commit itself to democracy and the rule of law. Westerwelle said that these were immutable European values and that Germany wanted to see Yulia Tymoshenko receive appropriate medical care for as long as necessary. He renewed the offer of such treatment being made possible in Germany.
Close contacts between Germany and Slovakia
Germany and Slovakia enjoy close bilateral relations. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited Slovakia twice in 2011 alone, most recently in September. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and then Federal President Christian Wulff also visited Bratislava in 2011.
This is Lajčák’s second term as Foreign Minister, the first coming in 2009-2010. He was also the High Representative for and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2007 to 2009.
More information on relations between Germany and Slovakia can be found here.
Last updated 10.05.2012