Maas in Bratislava: remembering the Prague Spring
Foreign Minister Maas in Slovakia, © Thomas Koehler/photothek.net
While in Slovakia, the Foreign Minister also takes the opportunity to mark the end of the Prague Spring 52 years ago.
This Friday is an important day: On 21 August 1968, an invasion of Warsaw Pact troops brought the Prague Spring to an abrupt end. The invasion also claimed lives in Slovakia. During his visit to Bratislava today, Heiko Maas will pay tribute to these victims. Together with his counterpart Ivan Korčok, he will lay a wreath at the plaque commemorating the Soviet invasion. In 1968, it was young Europeans in particular, and, among those, especially young people in Germany, who had high hopes for the policies of liberalisation in former Czechoslovakia.
Belarus: Dialogue with civil society necessary
For days now, many people have been taking to the streets in Belarus, calling for freedom and democracy. The EU does not recognise the election results. The EU Foreign Affairs Council therefore agreed at its meeting one week ago to impose targeted sanctions on those responsible for manipulating the elections and using brutal violence against peaceful protesters. Germany and the EU call on the Belarusian leadership to show a willingness to compromise and are pressing for a dialogue with civil society. This subject will also be on the agenda in Bratislava today.
Slovakia and Germany: very close ties
Berlin and Bratislava have significantly intensified their relations over the past few years. The two countries have close political and economic ties – especially in the automobile sector. In 2018, they agreed on an enhanced dialogue that includes regular meetings. On the agenda of the Ministers’ talks in Bratislava will also be the negotiations on the EU’s multiannual financial framework and its recovery fund, which will soon be debated in the European Parliament. Furthermore, talks in Bratislava will focus on the informal Gymnich meeting of EU Foreign Ministers that will be held next week at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. At that meeting, Foreign Ministers will discuss, among other things, current foreign policy challenges facing the EU.