New Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico Sets Czech Republic as First Official Visit

In a press briefing held yesterday to inaugurate Juraj Blanar as the new foreign minister of Slovakia, Prime Minister Robert Fico expressed his intention to embark on his first official foreign trip to the Czech Republic. This announcement follows a long-standing tradition in which new heads of state or government in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia pay their initial official visits to each other’s countries.

Prime Minister Fico’s declaration comes on the heels of his recent attendance at the European Union summit in Brussels, marking his inaugural participation on the international stage as the freshly appointed leader of Slovakia. Fico is keen to establish strong diplomatic ties not only with the Czech Republic but also with Germany, Hungary, and Poland. Additionally, he has signaled interest in extending his diplomatic outreach to countries like China and Vietnam, emphasizing the importance of bolstering the Slovak economy.

Fico underlined his commitment to conducting bilateral visits with a clear sense of purpose, ensuring that such visits contribute substantively to the political objectives of both countries involved. He expressed the view that these visits should yield tangible results, reflecting the mutual support of the respective nations.

Moreover, Fico highlighted the crucial role of collaboration within the Visegrad Four (V4), consisting of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. He stressed that V4 cooperation is of paramount significance, especially concerning the upcoming revision of the European Union budget, where the collective influence of these nations can be effectively harnessed to secure favorable outcomes for the region.

During the introduction of the new foreign minister, both Fico and Blanar assured that Slovakia’s foreign policy direction would remain consistent. Slovakia is committed to fulfilling all its obligations as a member of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, they emphasized the importance of retaining sovereign foreign policy that safeguards national and state interests above all.

Blanar articulated the stance that Slovakia would only endorse the proposed 12th package of sanctions against Russia following a thorough impact assessment, focusing not only on the broader EU implications but also on the specific consequences for Slovakia. This approach underscores the government’s commitment to consider the welfare of its citizens in any foreign policy decisions.

Prime Minister Fico reiterated that Slovakia’s position regarding EU and NATO membership remains steadfast, but it does not preclude the expression of sovereign positions in line with the nation’s interests. One notable point emphasized was Slovakia’s willingness to extend support to Ukraine through means other than direct military involvement, thereby contributing to regional stability without compromising its principles.

Article by Prague Forum

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