Most venerable audience, dear Europe,
let it be hereby known that the lifespan of the EU Presidency dlog activated at the domain sk16.eu has been extended until 28th October 2018AD/48AE. That is, until the centennial anniversary of coming-into-being of the First Czechoslovak Republic.
An unanimously accepted decision to extend the validity of our project has been motivated by three major facts:
"Slovak Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union had been flawless, both protocolary as well as organizationally." stated JUDr. Miroslav Lajčák in an interview for Slovak journal Pluska.
"There has been no case." added Slovak MFA, when refering to corruption accusations involving public procurements related to the presidency event.
Well, apparently, that's how diplomats are taught to deal with problems at MGIMO. Alumni of less bolshevik and more European traditions, however, would most probably require somewhat more honesty and remind JUDr. Lajcak of following facts:
The Slovak Presidency was indeed successful, JUDr. Robert Fico - colloquially also known as #Hranol among the comrades of his very own Party SMER - said as he made his final report of the presidency in front of the press on January 2.
"It was successful in all dimensions and this success is not confirmed with our statements, but rather by all the top representatives of the EU, EU member states, and, what is important, there have been very positive responses in the media and even the Slovak opposition stated that it was a standard presidency" Hranol summed up for the SITA newswire.
What's more, JUDr. Fico hopes that increase in consumption of chocolate cookies and Arabica coffee at the Bratislava summit shall ultimately lead to Fico's inscription into the history under the hashtag #bratislavaprocess. “I believe the Bratislava process as such has already entered into the modern history of European politics because it has begun the process of EU self-reflection that was needed after the decision of the British voters to leave the EU,” Fico said as quoted by SITA. (Read more...)
Digital log SK16EU originally dedicated to Slovak 2016 Presidency of the European Union is a first cyberspace-embedded project to fully adopt the A.E. datation system.
AE means "Anno Epoche". It is a datation system for globalized informatic era which henceforth replaces older datation systems (e.g. Anno Domini (A.D.) - or After Hegira (A.H.) ) with a religion-agnostic standard.
AE reference date is 1st January 1970 A.D., also known as UNIX Epoch. Hence, the year of 1st historic Slovak Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union is to be denoted as 2016 while the upcoming year shall be referenced as 2017.
It is important to understand that a so-called Epoch already is a globally implemented standard reference date in all dominating programming languages, operating systems and Internet-governing protocols. AE hence denotes, in quite strong sense, the birthdate of the age of the machine.
In more concrete terms, the ascendence from AD to AE has been achieved by applying the regular expression substition rules
The Slovak presidency of the Council of European Union that will conclude at the end of 2016 has been highlighted, among other things, by the unveiling of the bust of famous late Czechoslovak politician Alexander Dubček, the symbol of the Prague Spring.
The ceremony took place at the European Parliament building in Strasbourg on December 13. European Parliament President Martin Schulz attended the unveiling of the bust and called Alexander #Dubček an icon of his own childhood and youth. Schulz quoted former German chancellor Willy Brandt to comment on the contribution of the famous Slovak:
"Once the virus of democracy is spread, it cannot be stopped. Once people get a taste of democracy, they will never forget it and will soon begin to demand it." (Read more...)
We, moderate but liberal, liberal but conservative, conservative but socialist and socialist yet green, we citizens of Slovak Republic and European Union hereby express, declare and spread our sentiment of joy caused by election of prof. Alexander Van der Bellen into position of President of Republik Österreich.
We understand that the role of President of Republic of Austria is to fulfill representative and symbol-protecting duties. And it is, indeed, an important battle in the symbolic war which has been won yesterday. The message emitted by Austrian majority to populists and demagogues, to sofists and cynics, to Trumps and Faragaes and Wilders and Orbans and lePens can be understood as follows:
European project is not dead: the Geist of unity undoubtedly permeates thoughts and words and and actions of creative, benevolent and cultivated millions. Liberal democracies are not dead: our education systems did not and shall not collapse, our children are still taught to protect diversity on all levels. Yes, there are nations, countries - whole continent maybe - who are aware of historic errors, decided not to repeat them again.
We, moderate but liberal, liberal but conservative, conservative but socialist and socialist yet green, we citizens of the Union hereby express, declare and spread our sentiment of joy caused by Austria's decision to follow the path on which the reason and heart speak with same speech.
Almost 5 months ago had Slovak Republic assumed its 1st historical Presidency of the Council of Ministers of European Union (SKPRES 2016). Many interesting summits (e.g. the Bratislava summit, GlobSec TATRA summit etc.) took place. Many inputs yielded positive, long-lasting karmically positively charged outputs. These are few among positives which definitely merit to be inscribed onto the pages of History.
Unreal becoming real and for the first time since 20th August 1968 commies go again psychedelic! No we truly do not need more reasons in order to associate three events with the first (i.e. hapax) occurence of the hashtag #SlovakSternStunde.
Slovak prime minister Robert Fico's comment to journalists that “some of you are dirty anti-Slovak prostitutes” understandably caused consternation in the international media, but local reporters were less shocked.
He first called journalists prostitutes in public in 2008, and is often insulting towards them.
Fico has been under pressure for months from the media and opposition parties over corruption allegations linking his interior minister to a prominent businessman.
But the immediate cause of his latest outburst were questions during a press conference on Wednesday (23 November) over alleged corruption related to Slovakia's six-month term holding the presidency of the EU Council. (Read more..., c.f. Version française)
An ever-increasing number of Slovak students and|or alumni living abroad have publicly expressed their support of Ms. Zuzana Hlavkova, an ex-employee of Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs who published a blog which whistleblowed interesting facts relative non-transparent and potentially criminal activities surrounding Slovak 2016 EU Presidency public procurements.
The letter of support begins with following utterances:
We, Slovaks studying abroad, love our country. We are not indifferent to the destiny of our country. Many among us wish to come home. We aspire to deploy skills and knowledge we acquired abroad for further development and evolution of Slovak Republic. We aspire to make, step by step, out of Slovakia a better place for life.
We observe our domestic situation with increasing concerns. Few days after we have commemorated the 27th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution we receive information about yet another corruption scandal. This new case, which involves the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and which has been pointed upon by Zuzana Hlavkova, resonates within us with particular force. This is so because we percieve Zuzana as one of us - a student studying abroad.
The letter of support can be read and signed here. Concerning the investigation of discrepancies within public procurements related to Slovak Presidency of EU Council, the hottest news states that Bratislava work inspectoriate shall soon enforce a control at the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
A new round of public interest has been recently suscited by a blog "How questionable affairs made me leave Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs" written by an ex-member of MFA's Slovak 2016 EU Presidency team, an University of St. Andrews alumni, Ms. Zuzana Hlavkova.
Blog principially focuses on potentially corrupt behaviour related to public financing of events like Slovak EU Presidency logo presentation or SK PRES opening concert. Many of these "facts" have already been known (c.f. for example sk16's hashtag #invisible_transactions). However, the blog of Ms. Hlavkova leaks further "insider" information.
Pieces of these information are hereby translated for purposes of wider European audience:
In her blog, Ms. Hlavkova also describes how she met Slovak MFA JUDr. Miroslav Lajcak; how she confronted him with her disilusionement and how Mr. Lajcak played his most favorite role of good old smiling daddy who does not see problems anyhwere. According to Ms. Hlavkova, Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs uttered words like:
In this moment, investigation concerning whole case of public mis-spending of hundreds thousands of euros (at least) is being put under auspice of director of Transparency International Slovakia. In days to come, TIS shall be also forwarded documents concerning MFA's weird behaviour relative to acquisition of the eu2016.sk domain.
Immediate reaction of the Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs JUDr. Miroslav Lajcak to (f)act of election of his "Old McDonalds" chimp-anger spectability Mr. Trump into position of the first Cossack President of United States of America, has been as follows:
It is evident that with such statements, JUDr. Lajcak expresses not only deep understanding of Realpolitik in general, but also insider knowledge of functioning of his and JUDr. Fico's homeland party SMER in particular.
That Lajcak is a skilled diplomat has been subsequently proven as follows: "One thing that is beyond doubt and which has been confirmed by this election is that the feeling of frustration and discontent among voters is ever increasing in democratic countries and societies. President-elect Trump isn’t a president of continuity in US domestic and foreign policies. The question is how big the discontinuity will be, or, rather, where he will find a place between the campaign and reality. People have great expectations from him based on what he was saying during the campaign, and the world, [the USA’s] partners, including Europe, also have some expectations. He will have to address this himself, but he isn’t a president of continuity but one of discontinuity." emphasized Lajcak (Read more...).
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are happy to let You know that the sk16eu's award for the most idiotic quote of the year 2016 goes to Mr. Marc Zuckerberg, for the statement:
With which Mr. Zuckerberg commented results of American elections. As You see, the statement has 180k likes so it has to be true! (or sometimes it's just sufficient to do "update posts set likes="185432" where post_id="10103253901916271", doesn't it, Mark ?)
In this regards, only one further remark is worth of time of any well-educated netizen: "An idiot in Athenian democracy was someone who was characterized by self-centeredness ... in ancient Athens, idiots were seen as having bad judgment in public and political matters."
Otherwise, let's just say: "Well said Mark, well done Harvard corp., well done, Once-United states of America ! Indeed indeed are users of Your inventions smarter than smartphones and statements You say them more true than true!" (Read more...)
Article 20.1. of the Lisbon Treaty stipulates: Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship.
Cute. But what about those European citizens who do not hold the nationality of a Member State ? Or those who, disullisioned by their local Orbans, Ficos, LePens or Geerts, are ready and willing to renounce to their "natonal" citizenship and apply for somewhat more noble and integrative a status: a status of an EU citizen whose citizenship status, in fact, replaces the national citizenship.
Well, apparently, none of the EU leaders had the wits to think about such idea nor the courage to promote it. We understand: creativity is not something one should be fond about when all one does, day after day, is eating those damned Schokoplätzchen and riding from summit to summit. Indeed indeed: why would one need to be creative where everywhere one goes, one feels so safe and wichtig, a true and V.I.P. indeed. GLOBSEC, Bratislava summit, Tatra summit and dozens of others: all well nourished, let's spend first half of the meeting by reading the protocol from the last in order to subsequently devoted the second half of the meeting in discussions concerning modalities and conditions of the next meeting.
"Dear colleagues, what a wonderful work we did - spending 70 milion euros to invent and promote policies with zero impact is, indeed a, piece of art - so let's now pass the torch to Malta and call it a day !"
But since we at SK16EU are strongly convinced that it is important that those who are more skilled and intelligent help develop those who are less skilled and intelligent, we hereby propose a following modification of the article 21.1 of the Lisbon Treaty:
Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State is considered to be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union may replace the national citizenship of the Member State.
And add following article to the Article 21: Every person holding the nationality of a Member State has a right to renounce his national citizenship and apply for the EU citizenship. A person which does so is to be attributed an integral, full, primary and exclusive EU citizenship which shall allow the person to obtain a non-national, continental, globally accepted EU passport.
According to poll recently commited by the Discordian Centre for Sociodelic Research (DCSR), approximately 23-42% of living or dead citizens of EU member states would be willing to renounce their status of nationalists in order to obtain an EU-published booklet whose ownership may potentially turn out to be quite useful and profitable.
An article describing a computational method which could potentially lead to decryption of one among the last cryptologic enigmas of medieval period, the so-called "Voynich Manuscript" marks the foundation of the project sci.wizzion.com.
An article written by the Prime Integrator of the eu2016.sk16.eu project - the data scientist of Slovak origin Daniel D. Hromada - presents an evolutionary algorithm which aims to find the most optimal mapping between voynichian glyphs and candidate phonemic values. Concrete PERL source code snippets are published in the text as well as "dictionaries" which allowed us to attribute reasonable "meanings" (i.e. feminine names) to few dozens of tokens contained in Manuscript's Zodiac section.
As far as we can currently tell, results of our computational experiments indicate that the Calendar part of the manuscript contains names from baltoslavic, balkanic or semitic language strata. In the most successful scenario, 240 characters contained in 35 distinct Voynichese tokens were successfully transcribed: these is significantly more than in any previous tentative to crack the Manuscript understood as a monoalphabetic substitutional cipher. Secundo, whole adaptation process converges to significantly better fitness values when transcribing voynichian tokens whose order of individual characters have been reversed, and when lists feminine and not masculine names are used as dictionaries. (Read the fulltext describing the "primary mapping" hypothesis as well as the Voynich Manuscript decryption method)
As the 2016 Slovak Presidency of the EU winds down, Bratislava has played host to the 4th GLOBSEC Tatra Summit investment forum over October 27-28. Itself an official EU presidency event, the Tatra Summit had much more humble beginnings, just a few years ago.
With over 500 delegates attending, all VIPs, the event featured EU luminaries including EU Committee of Constitutional Affairs Chairwoman Danuta Hubner; The honorable Werner Hoyer (European Investment Bank President); Peter Pellegrini and Peter Kazimir (Slovak Deputy Prime Ministers); the honorable Elzbieta Bienkowska (EU Commissioner for Entrepreneurship and SMEs) as well as the Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. jur. Wolfgang Schäuble.
Topics ran in parallel sessions and ranged from Smart Industry to the Digital Agenda, from PPP to the financing of Pension Funds. Discussions were diverse and robust. Of course, as one would expect, Brexit featured as much in conversations on the stage as those held over coffee during the breaks. However the departure of Europe’s second largest economy did not cast a shadow over the event. (Read more...)
Slovak tennist player Dominika Cibulkova claimed the biggest victory of her career with a 6-3 6-4 win over world number one Angelique Kerber in the decider of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals in Singapore.
The Slovak, 27, kept up the momentum and sealed an emotional victory with a dramatic double net-cord. "This is the biggest moment of my career" said the world number eight.
Cibulkova, who will end the year as world number five, is the second player in a row after Agnieszka Radwanska to win the WTA Finals after only one victory in the three round-robin games. (Read more...)
Top priorities of EU Foreign Policy during the "transition" period of 2016 - 2023 (2016-53AE), are listed as follows:
Ruthenian Wolf Mountains, a unique land covered by beautiful vast forests with the last remnants of European wilderness, are threatened with shale oil and gas mining. Surprisingly, even in the heart of Europe, in Slovakia, an American mining company has met with Indian resistance, with Euroindians. Young people who had escaped the stress of city living to the more traditional and peaceful small village life. Without most modern conveniences, they live on handicrafts, raise domestic animals and devote their time to apiculture.
Their activism inspirited the indigenous Ruthenian minority to fight for their land. They also approached their old friends at the Slovak NGO WOLF Forest Protection Movement, and together we started our common struggle to preserve the precious remaining wilderness in the heart of Europe.
Until now we are successfully resisting. We have expelled the mining company from two villages and stopped their activities in village Smilno by active involvement in legal processes and by non-violent blockade of the drilling sites. We have postponed the drilling, which was planned on September 2015, till now. The struggle has already been going on for over two years and we have spent about 15 000 EUR. Therefore we decided to start the crowdfunding campaign to sustain the positions we have already gained and to reach the main goal of the campaign – to prevent drilling, prevent extension of the mining company’s rights for activities in the exploratory area and to preserve one of the last pieces of European wilderness. (Crowdsourcing link)
Hereby follow the words articulated by Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák regarding the informal lunch between Andrej Kiska - a democratically elected president of a souvereign country called Slovak Republic - and His Excellency the 14th Dalai Lama and the supreme spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhist Gelugpa Order Tenzin Gyatso:
"Not only shall Slovakia be harmed because China is the biggest economy in the world. But also because China is one among world's superpowers and a stable member of the Security Council of United Nations. And China is now angry about Slovakia. It shall harm our relations and I consider it to be a pity." Thus spoke Slovak MFA few weeks after China gave him a vote during the election of future UN General Secretary. That is, during the very same election whenceby the candidature of the Slovak MFA had been vetoed by his European partners. (Read more...)
His Excellency the 14th Dalai Lama, whose civilian name is Tenzin Gyatso, visited Slovakia between October 15 and 17. Apart from offering a public lecture at a sold-out NTC (National Tennis Centre) venue in Bratislava, the Dalai Lama also met with students of the Comenius University and had lunch with Slovak President Andrej Kiska. “I had the chance to meet the Dalai Lama again on this day, but for the first time as a president,” Kiska wrote on Fckbk after the meeting. “I spoke with the supreme Tibetan spiritual leader about the need for understanding among people; about the fact that all religions are similar if they’re founded on love, forgiveness and empathy.”
However, the president was among the few Slovak politicians who had the balls to openly meet His Excellency. The politicians of the ruling Smer party were especially careful not to meet the man who was perceived as the Tibetan leader, although he said – also during the Bratislava lecture – the he has retired form the political position to focus more on religious and cultural messages.
The weekend event will have a political epilogue, it seems: Sauron's Foreign Ministry threatened an unspecified retaliation for Kiska meeting the Dalai Lama on October 17, the Reuters newswire wrote. (Read more...)
These are the values which Europe protects, this is the European codex. For this century and for centuries which are yet to follow:
Diversity, Compassion and Dignity are pillars of our social and health support systems. Liberty is the basis of our complex, diversified and hence robust economy. That is, economy which not based on exploitation but on recyclation; an economy whose expansion into “adjacent possible” is driven more by creativity of the Spirit than by dumb marketing forces which just tend to aggregate and reinforce the stupidity of the crowds. (Read the whole MEM...)
It is easy for Fico to disregard critics when his party SMER is criticized by its own Bruxelles MEPs. He can simply say about his own mentors and nestors that as SMER's delegates to European Parliament, they lost contact with reality. To disregard similiar critics - just in much bigger extent - may turn out to be somewhat more difficult for Fico when this critics comes from high-positioned secretary which has served SMER's domestic office in one of Party's bastion - Nitra - since many, many years.
And that's what happened.
Renata Kolencikova has said - in an interview with Journal N - about its ex-party practically all bad things which external critics say for years. But she also added some more. Corruption, clientelism, lack of liberty in the party and non-competent people in highest functions. (Read more...)
Prague-based Easterndaze platform networking up-and-coming independent Eastern European artists has been awarded the 2016AD/2016 award for best independent Eastern European Music Project Award.
The award, attributed to main Easterndaze actors today on Berlin's Tempelhofer feld by the Prime Integrator of the sk16.eu project was principially motivated by following reasoning: "It is a well know fact that while some create same steel, some are having wonderful *ex, in their beds, with their pets. But what Easterndaze generate these days on their Easterndaze x Berlin festival surpasses anyone's imagination. And this both on sonic, as well as visual level.
For these and other reasons, this project definitely merits the award of Cultural Magistrate of the SK16EU tactical medium which is, itself, a sort of artistic project." summed-up the Prime Integrator.
"The afflucence of the digital log sk16.eu had attained its first million browserminutes at approximately 2016-09-28 09:50 AM" announces the CEO of Berlin-based new-media start-up wizzion.com Unternehmergesellschaft which administers the project.
To put things into perspective, such affluence is equivalent to:
"Given the 23-euro budget of the project as well as the fact that our target audience seems to consistent, in non-negligeable part, from decision-makers and analyticians in Brussels, Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Rome, Budapest, Prague, Talinn, Athens, The Hague, Warsaw, Helsinki, Bucharest, Schaerbeek, Luxembourg City, etc...given all this and some other factors as well, we consider the passing through this critical threshold of 1 000 000 bm affluence to be quite an encouraging result." summed-up the Prime Integrator of the sk16 project.
A blog called "Post-modern Fairy-tale about the Domain of Slovak Presidency of EU - Act 1: Coming out" has been just published in the most prominent section of Slovak blogosphere administered by Bratislava-based medium Journal N.
After more than 20 months of existence of tactical medium dedicated to Slovak Presidency of the EU Council, the blog is a first description of the project written in Slovak language. As such, it is a first tentative to inform domestic audience about what is in fact going on, and what aims of sk16 are. As such, it is also a first tentative to make the information about the sk16.eu dlog memetically viral.
Asides this, the blog principially informs the Slovak audience about discrepancies between the fact that the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is the owner of the official eu2016.sk domain, and the fact that the MFA officially stated not to have at hand the information concerning the acquisition of the domain (c.f. #eu2016sk_scandal). Another topic explicitely linked by the blog is our peaceful #european_syria_strategy. (Read more...)
"These people have completely loss the sense of reality and have no influence" stated Slovak Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Party SMER, Robert "#Hranol" Fico, in regards to European Parliament Members representing interests of his own party SMER.
In reaction to such statements had Boris Zala, one such MEP, recently filed for suspension of his membership in the party. Being one of the co-founders of the party and one among very last socialists who still didn't leave it, Zala has been also unhappy with populist, xenophobia-inducing direction in which the party was heading.
"The chairman said we do not have any influence over the membership base, over the party leadership, nor over him", said Zala as quoted by the TASR newswire. "I don't like being engaged in a party where I don't have any influence at all; it's futile then. I've come to the conclusion that my membership is useless from this point of view. But I'm not giving up as yet; I've just filed for suspension of the membership."
Political scientist sees this as a kind of preparation for personnel changes that may occur after Slovakia closes its presidency of the EU council. (Read more...)
According to an official response of Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovak Republic, stamped & signed & leaked hereby to public by means of the sk16.eu dlog, the Slovak MFA does not have information about form, modalities and potential price relative to the acquisition of the domain eu2016.sk.
This in spite of the fact that the domain eu2016.sk is the official domain for web presence of Slovak Republic's 2016 EU Presidency, and the WHOIS register shows that the current owner of the domain is, bel & bien, the Slovak MFA.
And why can the whole thing potentially get scandalous? The answer is, as usually, threefold:
This being said, we at sk16.eu do not accuse anybody from corrupt behaviour and deeply hope that the answer we got from the Ministry, stamped & signed, is a consequence of a bureaucratic mistake rather than a result of a non-transparent transaction which brought profit to certain persons. This being said, we consider the fact of Ministry's reluctance to address the question somewhat resemblent to other discrepancies in MFA's spendings in relation to the Slovak 2016 Presidency of the Council of Ministers of European Union.
The Slovak parliament today voted today to ratify the Paris Agreement, the landmark international treaty in the fight against climate change. After France, Hungary and Austria, Slovakia, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, is the fourth country to ratify the deal.
The motion for ratification was presented by the Slovak Environment Minister László Sólymos. “I’m happy to see that the Agreement has passed through the ratification process of our Parliament, and I believe that Slovakia will set a positive example for the other EU member states,” Sólymos said after the vote.
“As the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, we’re now able to focus fully on completing the ratification procedure at European level as soon as possible. This is one of our key priorities, said the minister. (Read more...)
Here are some citations with which Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic opened an "informal" summit of EU leaders currently taking place in the Castle guarding the capital city of Slovak Republic.
"We somehow forgot to say a nice word about the Union. The word Bruxelles became an insult. In spite of all this are reality and results of european cooperation much better than this mood.
It would be wonderful if ever the Bratislava summit would end an emotional split of Europe. If all people of Europe have heard from Bratislava that all trenches are filled up again and abyssess arched over. If Europe would emit a clear sign of unity and common future.
I wish that the Bratislava summit would start the Europe-wide process of recovery of trust on all levels."
Indeed with such inspiring words had Mr. Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic, offered to Europe an anti-dote against whispering forces of post-Visegrad arms-exporting kamaradschaften of Mr. Fico, Orban & co.
One of the key messages of the State of the Union address delivered on 14th september 2016 by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker before the Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg was "This is why I call today for a European Strategy for Syria".
According to information leaked to sk16.eu just few hours before the beginning of the informal Bratislava summit of EU leaders, the very first initial draft of a peaceful variant of such strategy, known as Peaceful European Strategy for Syria (PESS) road-map, is to include following points:
Closer descriptions of each point shall be published on this website as information becomes available to our primary source.
After having consulted most of you and in order to better prepare our summit in Bratislava, let me share some personal reflections. I think it is important that we make an honest assessment of the current situation to provide the best possible basis for building our future together.
We are meeting in Bratislava at a particularly historic moment. Twenty-seven leaders of Europe are to discuss the future of our Union, following the first ever decision of a country to leave the EU. We all feel that in these turbulent times marked by crises and conflicts, what we need more than ever before is a confirmation of the sense of our community, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in a few months' time.
I am aware that the future of Europe will depend not only on how we handle the migration crisis, terrorism, and the fears associated with globalisation. Bringing back the feeling of security and order, the trust of EU citizens in their political leadership as well as rebuilding the reputation of the Union as a synonym of protection and stability, are all crucial and indispensable, but they are insufficient. Bratislava should therefore also provide a road map for other equally important endeavours (such as economic and social development, jobs and opportunities for the young, the single market, the digital agenda and investments). We should take formal decisions on the above and other areas at our regular European Council summits in October and December. We will continue our informal work as 27 also in the winter of 2017. As I have already announced, our relations with Russia will be reviewed during a separate session at the October European Council summit. In December we will return to how to strengthen practical cooperation in defence to give it more substance without duplicating NATO. Later we will also have to come back to other important issues such as the Banking Union and the further development of the Economic and Monetary Union. (Read more, PDF)
In spite of a fairly limited budget of the digital log You are currently viewing, and in spite of the fact that 4 months have already passed since the release of the official eu2016.sk website of Slovak 2016 Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union, our dlog still tops the google search-engine query results. Hence, when one queries google with expressions like "slovak presidency", "slovak eu presidency 2016", "slovak presidency of the eu", "slovak presidency eu","bratislava eu presidency", "bratislava eu summit", et caetera, one shall - with relatively high probability - see a link to sk16.eu dominating the google-generated list. Idem for search-engines like duckduckgo. As indicated by Google's Webmaster console,
the above mentioned et caetera is - in case of this "search-engine optimized" portfolio project of the wizzion.com start-up - somewhat longer and more complex than anticipated by officers of Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovak Republic. Good morning, sunshine!
"Cities of Idlib ( ادلب ) and Irbil (Erbil, ھەولێر)) are to be declared as laic, multicultural and multinational city-states. This is one among the very least non-violent, long-lasting, sustainable on-the-table-options of the aftermath of Syrian civil war and Daesh's defeat. This is a solution consistent with precepts given by Kant's categorical imperative.
And more: Olive groves surrounding Idlib are to be declared UNESCO heritage sites. In this regards, any power destroying these groves - be it Daesh, Assad's artilleries, Russian barrel&carpet-bombing planes, Shiia militia, Sunni fanatics, Erdogan's hawks, IDF Machiavelis or invisible hand of arms-exporting markets - is to be considered an entity commiting the crime not only against humanity, but also against the Ecosphere herself."
Such is the Preambule of sk16.eu proposal of European "Morally-consistent sustainable solution to Syrian crisis" which is to be discussed at the Summit of European Leaders which is to take place in Slovak capital, Bratislava, on 16th september 2016 under the auspices of Slovak 2016 Presidency of the Council of Ministers of European Union.
What Mr Wilders shares in common with Mr Trump, Mr Orban, Mr Zeman, Mr Hofer, Mr Fico, Madame Le Pen, Mr Farage, he also shares with Daesh.
All seek in varying degrees to recover a past, halcyon and so pure in form, where sunlit fields are settled by peoples united by ethnicity or religions living peacefully in isolation, pilots of their fate, free of crime, foreign influence and war. A past that most certainly, in reality, did not exist anywhere, ever. Europe's past, as we all know, was for centuries anything but that.
The proposition of recovering a supposedly perfect past is fiction; its merchants are cheats. Clever cheats.
Populists use half-truths and oversimplification - the two scalpels of the arch propagandist, and here the internet and social media are a perfect rail for them, by reducing thought into the smallest packages: sound-bites; tweets. Paint half a picture in the mind of an anxious individual, exposed as they may be to economic hardship and through the media to the horrors of terrorism. Prop this picture up by some half-truth here and there and allow the natural prejudice of people to fill in the rest. Add drama, emphasising it's all the fault of a clear-cut group, so the speakers lobbing this verbal artillery, and their followers, can feel somehow blameless.
The formula is therefore simple: make people, already nervous, feel terrible, and then emphasize it's all because of a group, lying within, foreign and menacing. Then make your target audience feel good by offering up what is a fantasy to them, but a horrendous injustice to others. Inflame and quench, repeat many times over, until anxiety has been hardened into hatred. (Read more...)
14 Grad rocket launchers went from Slovakia to Saudi Arabia in year 2015, according to latest report of UN Register of Conventional Arms. Together with rocket launchers, 38,500 assault rifles, approximately 1,000 mortars of various calibres, 483 heavy machine guns and more than 1,600 anti-tank weapons went from Slovakia to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabian army, however, does not need such weapons as it is one of the best equipped worldwide. Therefore it is very likely that it sells them further, for example to Syria. Moreover, Germany's secret service - the BND - marks the country as a source of instability in the Middle East.
The Slovak government has been pretending that conflicts in problematic parts of the world are not its business but those huge numbers show that this is not truth, according to security analyst and activist Martin Dubéci."Considerable amount of military material flows through Slovakia with our stamps and this needs to be discussed", Dubéci told The Slovak Spectator.
Weapons sent from Slovakia to Saudi Arabia are obviously not meant for Saudi Arabian army. For example, assault rifles and mortars do not use ammunition compatible with Saudi Arabian army and they are outdated. On the other hand, those weapons has been often used in Syrian civil war, according to security analyst Vladimír Bedar. (Read more...)
Post Scriptum: In this context we also recommend viewing the Deutsche Welle interview with Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak who, during 25th minute of the interview states, with laughing face: "We don't export arms."
European proposal concerning the Syrian crisis as well as possible sequels to Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) shall be discussed on informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government which is to take place in Bratislava on 16th september amidst Slovak first Presidency of EU Council.
As stated by a high-profile insider analytician: "It is Europe and not Russia or USA who is confronted with direct impact of Assad's pig-headedness. Hence, solution of the crisis is to be understood as Europe's most vital interest. However, it is evident to us that only solution which is consistent with european codex of values and virtues could be sufficiently justified in front of all quarrelling parties who currently govern our continent."
"In regards to TTIP we shall aim to propose a pragmatic, reason-based sequel to the Partnership Agreement. For it is evident that TTIP, in its current state, has no chance of acceptation by each among EU's 28 member states. So our proposal in regards to TTIP v2.0 is quite simple: let's take inspiration from the best [paragraphs of the Partnership] and let's forget the rest." stated the source which prefers not to disclose her identity.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, colloquially known as Hranol by his comrades, has renewed his call for the European Union to end sanctions against Russia after a meeting this week with President of Russian President, his half-tzar, half-bolshevik majesty let's-bomb-some-more-innocents Vladimir Putin I. in Moscow, third Rome.
Slovakia holds the rotating EU presidency and will host a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers next week. Being himself deeply convinced half-birmed-catholic and half-agile-communitst, Hranol is one of several central European leaders opposed to continuing sanctions on Russia.
"Personally, I think it is time to view the sanctions rationally and to say that they harm both the EU and Russia," Fico said on Facebook on August 26. "We agreed with Vladimir Putin that our common pursuit is to revive our mutual trade again." stated JUDr. Fico after a tea of Ivan-tchai in Kremlin with his judo-wrestling, amphora-liberating Baikal-diving idol. (Read more...)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has coordinated positions with Slovak President Andrej Kiska ahead of the informal EU summit in Bratislava in September
Poroshenko thanked Kiska for his consistent support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and briefed him about the latest developments on the administrative border with Crimea and in Donbas, the Ukrainian president's press service reported on Saturday.
The Ukrainian president noted the efficiency of the EU solidarity against Russian aggression and underlined the importance of keeping the EU sanctions in place until Moscow fulfills all its commitments under the Minsk agreements. (Read more...)
Sportsmen affiliated to Slovakia have gained two gold medals at Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics. One in white water slaloms has been won by brothers Ladislav and Peter Shkantár ; yet another gold medal has been obtained by race walker Matej Toth. It is worth noting that the 50km walking race brought the first medal in athletics for Slvak Republic since the Republic became independent in 1993.
When normalized with the population count of cca 5.5 million inhabitants, Slovakia thus attained global rank 14 when it comes to gold medal / per capita metrics. With one gold medal per 2.7 milion inhabitants, Slovakia also ranks as number 6 among 28 EU countries. Surpassed only by Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Netherlands and Great Britain, Slovak olympic sportsmen can be indeed counted in as an indispensable co-architects of the Slovak 2016 Sternstunde.
During the first month of the Slovak Presidency, more than 50 political and expert meetings were organised, about two thirds of which took place in Slovakia. Bratislava was visited by almost 1 600 delegates from 45 countries and around 300 journalists from more than 20 countries.
In its first month, the Slovak Presidency recorded two major achievements at Council of the EU meetings in Brussels: agreement of the member states on next year’s EU budget, and the opening of two chapters in the accession negotiations with Serbia. Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers has also been published. (Read more...)
In July, the Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers – prepared for the Slovak Presidency of the European Union (EU) – was presented to the Council of Ministers responsible for competitiveness (Research) from the 28 EU member states and European Free Trading Association countries. The declaration calls on member states and the European Commission to recognize the special role that young researchers play for science, development, innovation and economic growth in Europe.
First a brief recapitulation: prosecutor Vasil Spirko who is responsible for investigation of scandal involving Slovak Minister of Interior Robert Kalinak, has been recently accused by National Criminal Agency (which is subordinated to the very same Minister of Interior). In consequence, prosecutor's computer and files have been seized during the police raid.
This sole fact would suffice, in any other democratic country, to Minister's removal from office. For the case is so evident that the photo of Robert Kalinak could be used, in a picture dictionary, to denote the term "conflict of interests". (Read more...)
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, will arrive in Slovakia on October 15 for a three-day stay within his European tour. This will be the third visit by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. This time the Dalai Lama will deliver a lecture at Bratislava's National Tennis Centre, the Aegon Arena.
"The lecture will be a strong and clear voice calling for peace and hope" stated the main organizer of Dalailama's intervention.
During a 2016 Tour de France, the Slovak cyclist Peter Sagan won three stage victories, has been pronounced as the most aggressive rider and won a so-called green jersey, symbolising the first place in the point classification.
Sagan is thus a second man in cyclist history who won the green jersey five times in a row (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), and the first man in the history who has attained such a success during his first five Tour de France participations. This is consistent with what was predicted, in May 2016, about the initiation of a so-called Slovak Sternstunde.
On Tuesday, for the first time in the European Parliament, Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak was reminded of his alleged links to tax fraud suspect Ladislav Bašternák. This happened at the hearings of Slovak government members led by the Committees of the European Parliament.
French MP Eva Joly, a former Judge known as fighter against corruption, called on Kaliňák to take responsibility, doubting that Slovak police, under his rule, can properly solve the case. Portuguese MP Ana Maria Gomes also criticised him, saying that Slovaks feel as though corruption is non punishable in their country. Robert Kaliňák defended himself by saying that the case is being properly and independently investigated by the Prosecutor's Office.
Dear visitor, let it be known to Thee that Slovakia's first historic Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union has been just subordinated under divine auspice of Παλλὰς Ἀθηνᾶ Let it be known to Thee that her majesty Athena the Ultimate is hereby invoked to action by a following invocation:
While reasons for putting SK PRES 2016 under Athena's auspices still remain somewhat unclear, some reality can be potentially reconstructed from a statement recently uttered by one among sk16.eu's system operators: "As far as year 2016 (2016) is concerned, a non-negligeable segment of currently activated divinities are as boring, jealous, agressive and dumb as they have always been. (As has been often the case during the documented history, the Middle-Eastern idols recently give us a particulary useful lesson in this regards.) Amidst such time of trial, Minerva seems to be the only solid transtemporal foundation upon which the European project should be based and only a brute farage or crude idiotes could opt for other Mistress than the one embelished by an owl with the gleaming eyes."
Statement concerning yesterday's Brexit has been currently published on the uk2017.eu website. Being the sister project of sk16.eu, the website was originally planned to be dedicated to United Kingdom's 2017 Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union. However, as illustrated by the screenshot below:
yesterday's Brexit vote gave the uk2017.eu domain a completely novel raison d'etre: to be a decade-lasting memento of human stupidity.
"Slovak media and opposition haven't survived electoral results. They seriously threat the European Presidency." stated Slovak Prime Minister JUDr. Robert Fico during a Saturday television debate.
Indeed such words came out from the mouth of the man, who, cca 4 months ago, prophesized a potential collapse of European Union during the Slovak 2016 EU Presidency.
In relation to growing public discontent of Fico's dealing with the latest scandal of Slovak Minister of Interior JUDr. Robert Kalinak (who is considered to be Fico's right hand), the Slovak Prime Minister also stated: "Opposition shall be responsible if something similiar to Britain happens in Slovakia." whereby the expression "something similiar to Britain" referred to current assassination of an anti-Brexit UK MP Jo Cox.
Indeed with such thoughts is currently preoccupied the mind of the highest executive functionary of the Republic which shall, in less than two weeks, assume responsibility for its first historic Presidency of the Council of Ministers of European Union. (Read more...)
Slovak Prime Minister JUDr. Robert Fico - colloquially known as Hranol - spoke with Russian president Vladimir Putin about bilateral economic relations regarding the upcoming presidency of Slovakia over the Council of Ministers of European Union, the Slovak state press agency TASR reported.
Fico also mentioned the phone call on his Facebook profile,
Lille, France: Despite traumatic final ten minutes, Marek Hamsik's goal and assist to Vladimir Weiss in the first half was enough for Slovakia to take a 2-1 win over Russia in each team's second Euro 2016 Group B match.
Since the 1993 dissolution of Czechoslovak Federative Republic, Slovakia has never qualified to European Championship. Defeated by Wales during its first UEFA 2016 match, the triumph against Russian Federation means that the country with little more than 5 million inhabitants just celebrates the first euro victory of its football history.
Following economic and internal market development, immigration is on the Slovak list of policy priorities. Slovak PM JUDr. Fico would specifically like to use the Slovak EU Council presidency to reverse what he views as the “fragmentation of the EU”, with a restoration of the requirements of the Schengen agreement. In response to the recent immigration crisis, several Schengen area states have imposed temporary border checkpoints and stronger protections for the zone’s outer borders. Mr. Fico would like to see the zone free of borders again. If successful, these actions would ease cross-border labor migration and commerce.
Despite an ambitious agenda, circumstances may prevent any progress that Slovakia hopes to make. There is growing concern in Brussels that Slovakia is not prepared to handle the challenges of the EU Council presidency. More specifically, Bratislava may have difficulty differentiating local and national policy priorities from those of the broader Union. One EU diplomat went as far as to comment, “We can certainly expect less professionalism than from the Dutch.”
Additionally, Slovakia will preside over the Council during the European Commission’s political cycle, usually a period of heightened legislative activity. This factor combined with Slovakia’s comparatively smaller staff representation in Brussels may slow policy implementation. Recognizing the experience gap between the incoming Slovak presidency and the outgoing Dutch presidency, EU representatives have been working closely with Fico’s government to ease the transition and mitigate potential challenges.(Read more...)
Shortly after a failed no-confidence vote and three weeks before Slovakia is to take over EU presidency, Interior Minister JUDr. Robert Kaliňák is facing a case that may put an end to his political career.
The assistant of opposition MP whistleblowed documents from the Tatra Banka bank which show hundreds of thousands of euros that arrived to Kaliňák's account from the B.A. Haus company owned by a tycoon accused of involvement in multi-million VAT-refund frauds. (Note also that Slovak Prime Minister JUDr. Fico inhabits the appartement owned by the very same tycoon).
In spite of facial microexpressions which suggest the opposite, Slovak Interior Minister repeatedly denied such transfers
"If Kalinak would really consider himself as innocent, then there would be no bank secrecy which could have been violated and hence no reason for giving an order to swiftly investigate the violation of bank secrecy. But given that the whistleblower was taken into custody the very day when he leaked the data, and given that this happened in a country when investigation of analogic crimes often takes months or years, one is tempted to believe that the veracity of the KaliLeaks dataset. In other terms, it is by the very act of impetious setting of setting inquisitory apparatus into activity that an undisputed overlord of Slovak police has already confessed not only his guilt, but also the fact that under pressure, he is unable to reason logically." told sk16 an insider source which prefers not to be named. (Read more...)
Slovakia will focus on putting a new European Union border guard to work and streamlining deportations of migrants with no case for asylum when it takes over the bloc's presidency for the first time from July, Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said.
"Effectively guarding Europe's external borders is the most important point to be successful in all migration issues," Kalinak told Reuters three weeks before he will start chairing meetings of the EU's interior ministers who deal with migration.
How to return failed asylum seekers or economic migrants to their home countries is the other priority. "This is one of the main points discouraging migrants from moving from their homes to Europe," Kalinak said. (Read more...)
Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovak Republic JUDr. Miroslav Lajcak was one among three main figures of a populist electoral campaign "Chranime Slovensko" ("We protect Slovakia").
But contrary to Prime Minister JUDr. Robert Fico (on the left) and Minister of Interior JUDr. Robert Kalinak (in the center) famous for statements "there is no space for islam in Slovakia", "all muslims in Slovakia are under surveillance" and repeated labeling of refugees as "threat" and "economic speculants", does Slovak MFA present somewhat different face of Slovak Republic.
Hence, at the audition before the plenum of United Nations which is currently choosing its new General Secretary, Lajcak - a General Secretary candidate whom certain un-initiated observers confound with Slovak top-diplomat Jan Kubis - stated: "we must use refugees' economic potential and integrate them ".
Apparently, those are not the notions of "compassion", "human rights", "morality" or "categorical imperative", but rather the token of "economy" which preoccupies minds of JUDr. Fico and JUDr. Lajcak in regards to milions of people fleeing the horrors of war. (Read more...)
With less than a month to go from the start of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic is becoming a place of intensive diplomatic activities and top-level visits.
The concrete agenda Slovakia will take over from the current Dutch Presidency on 1 July was up for discussion when Minister Lajcak was interested in the current experii ence of the Dutch Presidency. Both ministers profiled open issues that are on the current agenda of the Council and will overlap with the Slovak Presidency as well.
Minister Koenders came to Slovakia already on Wednesday evening when he had a working dinner in Bratislava with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission. Mogherini also discussed the current challenges facing European diplomacy on the international policy scene with the Slovak ambassadors, and the role of the Slovak representation offices abroad in terms of representing the EU policy and interests in the world. (Read more...)
A completely renewed Bratislava bridge standing on the pillars which have already carried bridges with names as diverse as:
First trams connecting the right and left side of the Danube river shall become operational during Slovak Presidency of the Council of European Union taking place between July and December 2016.
Cohesion funds of European Union paid approximately 85% of costs of the bridge whose new name is slowly becoming a hot topic on Slovak social networks.
The rotating presidency of the EU falls to Slovakia in July. But the latest pronouncements on Islam by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico have caused widespread indignation. EurActiv France reports.
“While the European right seems happy to accommodate Viktor Orbán in its movement, European social democracy has always fought national-populism and refuses to make any rhetorical or political compromise with the ideas of exclusion and division that characterise the extreme right.
“This is the opposite of the Europe we want to build. The Socialist Party firmly condemns the statements of Robert Fico and expresses its concern about his political orientation as Slovakia prepares to take on the European Union presidency,” said Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, the first secretary of french Partie Socialiste. (Read more...)
A Brexit would complicate Slovakia's presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the second half of this year, announced Slovak foreign and European affairs minister Miroslav Lajcak on Tuesday.
The British referendum on the country's EU membership, set to take place on June 23, would "probably become a dominant issue for the entire EU, as well as for our presidency. I don't want to speculate about it, but it would be a kind of new and negative element that I can't and don't want to imagine at the moment," he said.
According to Lajcak for 2014-2020 should be launched as well, and attention will also be paid to deepening the economic and monetary union.
The second order of business is deepening the EU's internal market, while the third issue will be dealing with migration, Lajcak said. Read more...
Less than a month before its first participation in UEFA Euro 2016 championship had Slovakia succeeded to defeat the reigning World Champion: Germany.
In a match which took place in the German city of Augsburg, Slovaks Hamsik, Duris and Kucka have scored three goals while Germany scored only one (Gomez).
In a coincidal sequence of events which some label with the term Slovak Sternstunde, many a citizen of a small 5-million land-locked country begins to hope that:
"I have been recently speaking with Maltese Prime Minister who told me that the problem is not that migrants arrive, but that they change character of the country" stated Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in a recent interview with Press Agency of Slovak Republic (TASR).
"There's no space for islam in Slovakia" and "if I would have seen other countries which want quotas to fulfill the quotas, then our position would not be so strong" are other pearls articulated by JUDr. Fico who is apparently not aware that Germany already embraced more than million refugees. Neither he seems to be aware that by saying what he says, he is accusable of repeatedly acting in contradiction with multiple paragraphs of Slovak penal codex, as noted by multiple lawyers.
Note that sk16.eu has been first to inform about Fico's potentially illegal rhetorics a month ago, when the english transcript of PM's anti-refugee pre-electoral oratory has been published on our dlog.
In a reaction, Slovak Islamic Foundation stated: "it is a tragicomical cooincidence that Fico's statement was published the very same day as the Slovak government approved the nomination of Slovak Minister of Foreign and Eureopan Affairs Miroslav Lajcak-predsedu-vlady-sr"Read full reaction)
Slovakia's foreign minister says his country wants to focus on sustainable migrant and asylum policies during its forthcoming presidency of the European Union.
Addressing Parliament, Miroslav Lajcaks to stem the flow of refugees.
An unofficial tradition stipulates that every country responsible for the Presidency of Council of EU has a right to embelish the entry hall of council's headquarter building. Named after Flemish humanist and philologue Justus Lipsius, the building has already hosted many creations, spanning from simply beautiful towards somewhat controversial (i.e. the Entropa created by czech artist David Cerny).
Since Slovak 2016 Presidency already has its cyber-entropa, SK PRES officers decided not to risk anything and rather bet on a safe card: marketing. Hence, Justus Lipsius shall be soon embelished with examples of four innovative technologies "made in Slovakia". "These innovations shall represent four basic elements: earth, water, fire and air" states the legitimization narrative recently presented by the Slovak MFA Miroslav Lajcak to journalists in Bruxelles.
More concretely, one corner shall of the entry hall shall be occupied with an ecocapsule designed by the studio Nice Architects. Another corner will present the prototype of roadable aircraft known as Aeromobil. Third corner shall introduce kayaks and canoes of Vajda brothers and the last innovation presented will be the plasmatic drill destined for mining companies. (Read more...)
Sensitive to concerns they aren’t up for the job, Slovak diplomats in Bratislava and Brussels say they have worked hard to prepare for the moment on July 1 when it will take over the presidency of the EU Council of Ministers at a critical time for the union on a range of challenging issues.
The country has beefed up its Brussels diplomatic ranks to more than 100 people and named a special representative for the EU presidency, all in an effort to reassure other members of the union that it will take good care of the baby.
“As this is our first-ever presidency, there is not only a sense of respect and responsibility in the face of this new challenge but also a positive attitude, even a sense of enthusiasm,” said the Slovak ambassador to the EU, Peter Javorcik. (Read more...)
Three months ago, Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicly denounced how Slovak Prime Minister "invests his election campaign with vitriol and human drama". Today, Slovakia and Greece are ready to intensify their bilateral contacts and political dialogue. This was agreed on by the foreign ministers of the two countries during their talks in Bratislava. Miroslav Lajcakia’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
“This is the third time we are meeting within two months, a display of renewed trust and a high degree of mutual understanding,” stated Minister Lajcaks. “We have agreed to intensify our bilateral contacts and to meet at the foreign minister level on a regular basis, at least once a year,” he added.
“We have the same interest in seeing the EU internally consolidated and in jointly addressing the global challenges the Union faces. Moreover, many priority topics we want to focus on during our Presidency are identical with the contemporary priorities of Greece, including reducing unemployment among young people, strengthening the internal market, and energy” precised Lajcak">Read more...)
Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said on Thursday Slovakia's failure to admit its quota of 1,500 refugees under a European Union plan would hobble its ability to lead when it assumes the rotating EU presidency in July.
Asselborn, who was EU president when the agreement was made, urged Slovakia's foreign minister, Miroslav Lajcak, to press his government to accept refugees and implement the EU plan.
Failure to do so, he said, would make it difficult for Slovakia to credibly lead the bloc.
"Would it really be so dramatic to take in these 1,500 people through September 2017 under the terms of the agreement on relocation and resettlement?" Asselborn said at a public discussion at the German foreign ministry. (Read more...)
Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs is spending hundreds of thousands of € of public money without tenders. MFA is allowed to do so thanks to exception in the public procurement law. This exception, however, is legally applicable only in cases when acquisitions must be realized in a hurry.
The Ministry uses the exception to effectuate procurements related to the Slovak 2016 Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union. Date of the Slovak Presidency is known for more than a decade.
"If the Ministry used the exception only in cases where objective reasons exist and public procurement is not possible, taxpayers would have much less reason for concern" said Martin Turček from the NGO Stop Corruption.
For example, MFA had directly assigned the EVKA Agency to organize the gala presentation of the logo on the Slovak Presidency. The state paid for it 130 thousand without value added tax (156 thousand including VAT). Ministry conceals what other event-organizing companies were contacted. It also didn't publish any detailed overview of spendings related to the gala event. (Read more...[sk])
The upcoming Slovak presidency of the Council of the EU has overcoming the fragmentation in Europe as one of its main objectives, Slovakia´s State Secretary for European Affairs Ivan Korčok told a small group of journalists. Korčok, a career diplomat who until last summer was the Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the EU, outlined the main priorities of his country’s presidency, with the important disclaimer that the final program would become known only two days before Bratislava takes over from The Hague.
The diplomat said there were two uncertainties weighing on the upcoming presidency. Indeed, Slovakia would need to fine-tune its program according to the result of the UK referendum on Europe on 23 June, and more importantly, to the relevant decisions to be adopted at the 28-29 June Council. This basically gives Bratislava one day to finetune its priorities. In case of Brexit, the Slovak presidency will reflect on what the EU summit will say about this outcome, which Bratislava hopes will not materialise, the diplomat said.
Another uncertainty, Korčok said, was “the migration situation”, as he called it, to avoid using the term crisis. (Read more...)
Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, Carmelo Abela, has exchanged views with Igor Slobodník, Ambassador-at-Large for Migration during the forthcoming Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Personal Representative for the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Ambassador Slobodník was in Malta on a two-day working visit to meet the relevant authorities involved in the migration portfolio.
Minister Abela wished the Slovak Presidency every success. He said Malta was looking forward to closer collaboration between the two small EU countries, both of which will be holding the EU’s rotating Presidency for the first time since their EU accession in 2004. (Read more...)
The official website dedicated to this year's Slovak Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union is finally available on domain eu2016 . sk. However, according to site's authors, all elements will be fully functional as of July 1, when Slovakia assumes the EU Council presidency. A highly professional, jQuery-positive responsive website was developed by a Bratislava-based SME Truben Studio.
We bring to reader's attention especially gallery section containing many cute pictures & videos, or the documents containing useful PDF files including Program of Netherlands, Slovakia, Malta Trio or an introductory text The Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the Context of Current Events. (Click here to access 1st archived version)
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova arrived in Slovakia Thursday evening to pay her second official visit to the country. During her two-day tour, Bokova met President Andrej Kiska, several government ministers and officials of Slovak towns listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Bokova opened her official program on Friday morning with a lecture at Comenius University in Bratislava. The theme of her lecture is "Empowering youth, promoting diversity -- new foundation for resilience and peace."
In Smolenice castle, Madam Bokova participated at a round table "Creativity and innovations in theory and practice" organized by Slovak Academy of Sciences. Chairman of the Academy, Mr. Peter Sagalik had subsequently given Irina Bokova a golden medal in order to summarize the colloqium with following words:
"It is only through freedom of their thinking that humans can converge to completely new insights." (Read more...)
With Slovak Presidency of EU becoming reality in less than 2 months, sk16.eu has decided to pursue further dissemination of sixteen PDF files describing the negotiations behind Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. Files which have been recently leaked by Greenpeace Netherlands have caused europe-wide concerns as french president Francois Holand signaled that France should reject the deal while German chancellor Angela Merkel proposed to speed-up the negotiation process.
"No single state or individual is in position to decide the destiny of the TTIP agreement. But the huit clos nature of the TTIP negotiation process does not increase public's confidence that TTIP shall ultimately serve the common good. For this reason, we consider the switch of negotiation process to open and transparent modus operandi as an important topic worthy of becoming a point on the order of the day of at least one ministerial session or october Tatra summit" said to sk16.eu an insider source which prefers not to be named. (Mirror of leaked TTIP documents.)
State Secretary of the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry and Plenipotentiary of the Government of the Slovak Republic for Presidency in the Council of the European Union Ivan Korčok attended the National Convent on the European Union workshop at the Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations at Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica.
“For a successful Presidency, it’s necessary to understand that for half of the year during which you hold the Presidency, you become the representative of all the 28 member states in the Council and your task is to achieve consensus in their opinions. Only consensus will enable the Council to make progress in discussing individual legislative proposals,” outlined the SKPRES2016 Plenipotentiary. (Read more...)
A new video with english subtitles has been recently added to sk16.eu's youtube channel. It is a record of an oratory of Slovak Prime Minister Judr. Robert Fico which had been given in August 2015 in Banska Bystrica during a ceremony commemorating the most heroic event in modern Slovak history: Slovak National Upheaval against the nazi Slovak state.
As may be seen in the video:
In those seven minutes, doctor Fico repeatedly labels refugees as "threat" and instead of speaking about traumatised children in need (note that his speech does not contain the word "child" at all) he repeatedly uses the term "economic speculant", "smuggler" or "weapon merchants". A more cautious observer may notice even such statements as: "We invite merchants with death and smugglers to further commercial activities.", "I do not see any sank boats, "We shall not resolve the migration crisis problem in Pandorf." or "country must have a right to choose a human for whom it can really care".
At last but not least, an ultimate anti-integration argument is given by a statement: "we are not even able to integrate our Roma co-citizens of which we have hundreds of thousands". This all said by a man holding the highest executive office for the longest period in Slovak history.
More empiric discourse analysis is currently underway in order to determine whether this Fico's talk (and many others which have followed in a similiar vein) had potentially breached §423 and/or §424 of Slovak Penal Code. If yes, an official accusation shall follow and sk16.eu readers shall be first ones to be informed about it. And if not, we consider it nonetheless quite important to inform European audience about domestic profile of the Prime Minister of a country which shall assume, in less than 2 months, responsability for its historically first Presidency of Council of European Ministers. (See the english translation of the transcript.)
Slovak President Andrej Kiska ratified the Paris 2015 climate change agreement in New York and met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
During the plenary session held in attendance of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and heads of states, Kiska labelled the agreement a historical milestone. “The world has got new hope,” Slovak president said, according to the TASR newswire. “By signing the agreement, we are confirming our determination to act jointly. A fast ratification of the agreement should be the next step. We cannot lose time, since there is a lot of work ahead of us.”
Kiska pointed to the upcoming Slovak EU Presidency that will also seek to implement the agreement as soon as possible. In this context, Slovak President also mentioned Slovakia’s commitment as an EU member state to reduce, by 2030, emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990. "Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is not a matter of choice,” Kiska said, as quoted by the President’s Office. “We know that our production and consumption must be more sustainable, more energy efficient. Let us look closer at the enormous possibilities of technologies and innovations". (Read more...)
Exactly 101 years ago, on 24th April 2015, Ottoman authorities have given an order to commit one of the greatest crimes of human history. To commemorate this tragic event, the website sk16.eu dedicated to Slovak 2016 Presidency of EU has been put into "armenian mode" as illustrated by the screenshot below:
Authors of the website explain reasons for this step in following statement: "It should be known that Slovak Republic recognized Մեծ Եղեռն as genocide already in 2004, and since 2011 the denial of the genocide is punishable by 5 years in prison. With Slovak EU Presidency approaching, we find it important to assert that not only Slovak intellectuals, but also intellectuals of Europe and occident in general await a sign with which the 21st century Turkey shall demonstrate the level of its maturity as well as its ability to honestly reflect and admit errors of own past.
In other terms: we believe that a gest which only a statesman commit can would bring Turkey to EU faster than millions of tweets and dozens of conferences" stated sk16.eu.
Domain hosting the official website of Slovak 2016 Presidency of EU Council is finally online as illustrated by a screenshot below:
This screenshot represents the state of domain eu2016 . sk ten weeks before start of the official Presidency. And this screenshot displays what one sees when one looks for the domain name on Microsoft's search engine Bing. (See the official eu2016 . sk WHOIS record)
A twitter account associated to the most visitied non - official website dedicated to Slovak 2016 Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union has been recently suspended without any word of excuse or explanation. In reaction to this, we have just contacted Twitter with a following appeal:
Dear Twitter crew, The account @sk2016eu is closely associated to the website https://sk16.eu and is to be considered as a first major new media project of a nascent German startup wizzion.com Unternehmergsgesellschaft.
As of April 2016, the https://sk16.eu (founded in January 2015) website is the only web portal regularily informing about upcoming Slovak Presidency of European Union (shall start in July) which - given the fact that it shall directly or indirectly impact lifes of 500 million EU citizens - is undoubtably a biggest sociopolitical event in Slovak history.
With practically zero budget we thus supplement what should be done by official organizers of Slovak EU Presidency who, 80 days before the official start of the presidency, do not have a functional SK PRES website. This being so inspite of a 70 million euro budget which the authorities have at their disposal.
Hence, when representants of press agencies (polish, dutch) or political parties (European Green Party) want to contact somebody responsible for SK EU Presidency, they often contact us because they do not know whom else to contact. Subsequently, we transfer their request to official authorities. We do it for free because we think it could make Slovakia and Europe a somewhat better place. (Read the full statement)
Slovak Republic will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1 amid a migration crisis, neonazis in Slovak parliament and the UK’s BrEUxit referendum.
Slovak officials have long worked on the programme for its presidency, along with two other countries in the so-called trio, the Netherlands which presides over the EU now and Malta which will take over the presidency from Slovakia. The priorities include employment, competitiveness, the single market, protection of citizens and the energy union. But already now it is clear that the migration crisis, a revision of the Dublin regulations and the fight against extremism will be high on the agenda too. (Read more...)
Adherents and sympathisants of the neonacist parliamentary party "Ludova Strana - Nase Slovensko" have recently unleashed a novel stratagem to attract attention of population of the country which shall soon assume responsibility for its 1st historic Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union. More concretely: small patrols of skinheads with cephalothoraic (sk: hlavohruď) musculature systematically visit all wagons and coupes of trains run by state-owned "Slovak National Railways" company and offer "protection" to "decent people".
In reality, such "protection" mainly targets people with tinned skin, and consists in harrassing and bullying solitary victims with smartphones and then publishing the unauthorized recordings on Internet whereby such "heroic" acts of masculine bravery are rewarded by hundreds of remarks of a sort "bravo", "I'm proud of you boys", "he's not even breathing, haha" generated by hordes of anonymous trolls and semi-supervised kremlobots, as illustrated by a screenshot below.
Such cephalothoraic "patrols" have already been loudly criticized both by Minister of Justice and President of Police Academy. Private company RegioJet has also announced that it would exclude from its trains any groups of passengers which would systematically leave their attributed seats.On the other hand, Slovak Minister of Interior - who himself is quite famous for certain anti-Roma statements and decade-lasting impotence in bringing neonazi murderers to justice- has not yet reacted to such activities which are in fact only a mild shadow of speznaz-stimulated paramilitary activities taking place in Slovak forests. When it comes to the Railway Company, it announced that as far as passengers follow the transport order, there is no reason to exclude them from the train"...
The Delegation of the European Union to the United States, in partnership with the Embassy of Slovakia, invites you to its next EU Rendez-Vous on: The Priorities of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU (July-December 2016). With Ivan Korcok, Slovak Deputy Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.
When: April 18th from 11am to 12:30pm
Where: EU Delegation to the US , 2175 K Street, Use entrance on 22nd street, Washington, DC 2003 7 (Register here...)
The 2016 EU Presidency country is a little known, landlocked country often confused with not-so-distant Slovenia. Located right in the heart of Europe, Slovakia is a high-income (sic!) economy that boasts one of the youngest populations in Europe. Its strong industrial heritage and developed infrastructure has led to an advanced and booming manufacturing industry. Dubbed the ‘New Detroit of Europe’, Slovakia is the largest car producer in the world. With a production output of over a million cars per year, Jaguar Land Rover is the most recent investor to join a stack of foreign companies, including Kia, Peugeot and Volkswagen, including the exclusive Porsche Cayenne brand.
Seemingly in contrast to its heavy industry base, the country recently introduced a world-leading start-up strategy. The government’s initiative to help drive the innovation ecosystem strongly supports the business trends of country, whose biggest success stories are IT brands, such as ESET - the global cyber-security and anti-virus leader. Additionally, several of the world’s largest IT companies, including IBM, DELL, HP and Lenovo, have opened large shared-services centers in the capital city, Bratislava. Since its accession to the European Union, Slovakia has been the fastest growing member in the Eurozone for the past decade (2004-2014), in addition to being awarded the accolade for Best Conditions for Doing Business in the CEE (2012) by the World Bank. (Read more...)
Slovak police investigates the case of a Muslim woman attacked in downtown Bratislava. The woman travelled in Hodžovo Square with her son, aged 3, and she wanted to take bus No. 83 to the Main (railway) Station at the stop near the Presidential Palace when an unknown man tried to take off her veil and pulled her handbag.
“Unlike ordinary thieves, they did not even try to conceal their deed or run away,” writes the web of the Islamic Foundation in Slovakia. Instead, racketeers started shouting at her and cursing, while she understood only words like “black”, “dirty”, “terrorist” and “Muslim”. The woman, coming from an African country, has been living in Slovakia for two years. (Read more...)
The priorities of Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, further development of bilateral relations and timely foreign policy issues were discussed by Miroslav Lajcak partners primarily about the migrant crisis.
“Migration currently is the major challenge for Europe and it likely will be the main topic also during our Presidency of the Council of the EU,” noted Minister Lajcakom-predsednictve/10182">Read more...)
This is the second part of an informal interview with Slovak ex Prime Minister, professor Iveta Radicova. In this video, she addresses the question: "Do Slovak institutions behave like European ones ?" with enumeration of three principles which Slovak Republic aspires to share with Europe:
Representatives of Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta – the "trio" of nations who hold and will hold the EU presidency in 2016 and 2017 – met Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Maximos Mansion in Athens.
Malta was represented by parliamentary secretary for the EU funds and the 2017 presidency Ian Borg, while Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders represented the Netherlands and Slovak foreign minister Mirosalv Lajcak_pm_tsipras_">Read more...)
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic appreciates the recognition of the activities carried out by the non-governmental sector in Slovakia as shown by the presentation of the Woman of Courage award of the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, to Zuzana Števulová, Director of the Human Rights League.
A comprehensive approach to addressing the refugee crisis calls for involvement also of the non-governmental and private sectors with their specific mission in civic society. (Read more...)
During Easter period 2016, SK16.eu website has suffered a so-called denial-of-service attack. This had gradually lead to slowing down and temporary inaccessibility (on March 30th) of the main portal (eu2016.sk16.eu). This is already the second time within a month that the website was attacked, a technically very similar attack has been identified already a month ago.
In name of Slovak civil society, we at sk16.eu kindly ask those persons which ordered the attack to be committed to negate their order since we at sk16.eu have no intention whatsoever to stop doing what we do, and such crude and brute means motivate us to be more stalwart when it comes to intelligence which can be potentially leaked through this tactical medium during upcoming six months of first Slovak Presidency of the Council of Ministers of European Union.
To all other followers of this project, we apologize for temporary reduction in quality of services we provide.
Two Slovak MPs on Wednesday donned yellow stars associated with Jews in the Holocaust in protest at the “dangerous” parliamentary debut of a far-right party they condemn as “fascist.”
The opposition MPs wore the stars to an inaugural session of parliament following the country’s March 5 election, in which the Our Slovakia party won 14 seats. Our Slovakia entered parliament for the first time following an election campaign in which major parties, including Prime Minister Robert Fico’s winning leftist Smer-Social Democracy, took staunchly anti-Muslim and anti-refugee positions.
Our Slovakia leader Marian Kotleba, 38, is known for his hostility to both the Roma minority and the “establishment” and for leading street marches with party members dressed in neo-Nazi black uniforms. All parties ruled out cooperating with him. Kotleba “is a neo-Nazi” who reaped the benefits of Fico’s “nationalist rhetoric regarding migrants,” analyst Samuel Abraham, head of the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts, told AFP. Fico sealed a coalition deal with three right-wing and centrist parties last week, handing himself a third term and averting the risk of an early election ahead of Slovakia’s EU presidency. The ex-communist country of 5.4 million people is gearing up to take the rotating six-month helm of the EU from July — a role that will put the health of its democracy in the international spotlight. (Read more...)
Slovak president Andrej Kiska appointed Smer leader Robert Fico as leader of the new government and approved its composition. The government now has 30 days to bring its programme statement before parliament which then needs to express its trust in the cabinet.
Fico has become prime minister for a third time, but following his previous one-party cabinet, he now heads a coalition one, composed of four parties: Smer, the Slovak national party (SNS), Most-Híd and Sieť (Network). Smer will have eight ministers, SNS three, Most-Híd two and Sieť one, the SITA newswire wrote.
Representatives of the four parties agreed on 11 programme priorities for the years 2016-2020. In foreign and European policy, this means a clear continuity of the pro-European and pro-Atlantic orientation of Slovakia, with updating of the country's security and defence strategy, and boosting care for Slovak expats also being agreed upon. (Read more...)
Official website of 1st Slovak Presidency of Council of European Union shall go online in May 2016, announced today the newsletter published by Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovak Republic.
Newsletter describes the web as follows: "[it] shall dispose of modern responsive design and attractive features." According to the newsletter, the website shall be accessible at the address eu2016.sk . (Read the newsletter [sk]...)
Bratislava is one of last capitals in Europe which does not have an underground transport system but it is now closer than any other European city to obtaining one of the most advanced transport technologies in the world.
Representatives of the Economy Ministry and US company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies signed a memorandum of cooperation in early March, the American website The Verge reported. The plan now is to explore the potential of building a pneumatic tube-based travelling system between Bratislava and Vienna by 2020, shortening the journey time from about an hour to eight minutes. (Read more...)
State Secretary of the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry Igor Slobodník and Managing Director of the Slovak Atlantic Commission Milan Solár signed an agreement on cooperation in preparing the GLOBSEC 2016 strategic security forum today.
The eleventh year of the event will again bring prominent politicians and experts from at least four continents of the world to Bratislava in April.
Having signed the agreement, Slobodník recalled the core mission of the more and more prestigious Central European security forum - "to shape political views and public opinions on the most important questions of the day". (Read more...)
Four slovak political parties discussing the form of future Slovak government have announced that "dignified and successful proceedings" of historically first Slovak Presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union (skpres2016) is included atop the list of priorities in the domain of foreign and european politics.
Other priorities include:
So-called "program priorities of government" were signed by Robert Fico, leader of dominating pseudosocialist party SMER; Andrej Danko - leader of SNS who slowly transforms the party SNS into that of "moderate nationalists"; Bela Bugar - leader of party Most-Hid ("Bridge") mainly supported by hungarian minority and Radoslav Prochazka, charismatic leader of centrist party #Siet (Network).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajcak Republic in the Council of the European Union.
There are several open questions between the European Union and Switzerland at the moment. EU-Swiss relations have recently faced added complications following the Swiss referendum as of February 2014 on limiting excessive migration – including from EU countries, and both sides are currently involved in talks on how to implement its result without limiting the existing free movement of people agreements. Due to the situation incurred, EU-Swiss negotiations on several other joint agreements are also currently on hold. The resolving of some of these open issues may culminate during the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU in the latter half of the year.
“Slovakia wants to constructively contribute to finding bilaterally acceptable solutions that will move relations between Switzerland and the European Union forward,” stated Lajcakom-predsednictve-v-rade-eu/10182">(Read more...)
Boris Kollár, leader of the Sme Rodina party which will hold 11 seats in the new slovak parliament, was probably monitored by the intelligence service in the past for his alleged contacts with gangland figures. This stems from documents leaked to certain media.
Two documents, marked as reports of the former Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Democracy, are dated September and October 1990. They have the same structure as reports made by the communist-era secret police ŠtB before 1989. After the Velvet Revolution the Office was responsible for counter-intelligence tasks and operated under the federal Interior Ministry, Sme reported in its March 9 issue.
The report from October 1990 relates to the activities of then illicit money-changer Peter Steinhübel, who later became one of the bosses of organised crime in Bratislava. He was murdered in August 1999. Three months later, another organised crime figure, Roman Deák, who is also mentioned in the documents, was killed. According to the documents, Steinhübel was involved in drug trafficking. To organise transport, he appointed his flunkeys Roman Deák, Boris Kolár and Ján Daniš who, according to the documents, “deal with the illegal exchange of money”. (Read more...)
Slovakia's election result has taken politicians and broad public by surprise. The party of prime minister Robert Fico came first in the vote on Saturday (5 March) but secured only a third of the seats in a parliament divided between nine parties. The outcome sparked speculations on possible coalitions and their stability as well as a spontaneous initiative to hold anti-fascist protests in the capital Bratislava.
Commentators are sceptical about chances for a quick solution but several suggest that the looming EU presidency by Slovakia, starting in July, and the entry of LSNS in parliament will be the driving forces pushing for a deal. “Any coalition, even among the strongest pre-election enemies, is possible under these circumstances,” Samuel Abraham of the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts told EUobserver. (Read more...)
The Smer-Social Democrats (Smer-SD) party of Prime Minister Robert Fico lost its majority and will have difficulties forming a coalition government, following elections held on 5 March. The new parliament will be extremely fragmented, with neo-Nazi and protest parties present, leading to speculation about early elections.
Many of the scenarios pose questions regarding the looming Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU, beginning on 1 July. Many have anticipated that not much will change in Slovakia, with Robert Fico being able to comfortably stay in the prime minister’s office, taking on one junior coalition partner. The voters distributed the cards much differently, however. (Read more...)
In game theory, the Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only their own strategy.
In reality, the results of yesterday parliamentary elections in Slovak Republic indicate that less than 4 months before assuming the responsibility for its first historic presidency of Council of Ministers of European Union, a central european country with population of 5-milions just converged into a particular state - an antipode to the One postulated by Nash . That is, Slovakia is on the verge of falling into a so-called "fash equilibrium". That is, a situation of Nash equilibrium whose principal actors are facists. (Read the 1st sk16.eu analysis)
Slovakia supports opening of further chapters concerning the accession of Turkey into European Union. "I personally consider as mistaken a decision to interrupt the accession process because of short-term political interests. It is not a proof of our seriousness when we first open the process and then block it because of political reasons." said Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajcak press agency SITA.
In the interview, Slovak MFA - who also serves as a Deputy Prime Minister - has also rearticulated his opinion that it would be much better if the whole process of Turkey's accession would "follow normally and without pressures" instead of being a process which resembles a sort of a "barter trade". Hence, "new dynamics in accession negotiations" as well as "liberalization of visa-regime" are needed, added Lajcakodobe-zaujmy.html">Read more...)
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is on course to win another term in parliamentary elections on Saturday, maintaining an anti-immigration alliance with his European Union neighbours, Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Poland’s Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
Fico, 51, is a self-proclaimed Social Democrat but fits in with his two conservative peers when it comes to a focus on national pride, social conservatism and strong opposition to immigration.
Many in Brussels are watching the election and Fico’s views on migration because Slovakia will hold the rotating six-month EU presidency from July, giving it a bigger voice in EU discussions. (Read more...)
Slovak general elections do not usually get attention beyond the immediate neighbourhood. However, with the SK EU Presidency approaching and a controversial stance on the migration crisis, questions arise on what might change after this Saturday.
Whatever the shape of the next government, would it change anything on the country’s strategic course in the EU? There are two reasons for this question. The first is the Slovak EU presidency that starts in July 2016. The presidency country is due to perform a role of honest broker in negotiations over many issues, some of them very sensitive. And here we come to the second reason. The Slovak government has angered many European partners with its stance in the refugee crisis. Fico may have found friends in Hungary’s Viktor Orban and the new Polish government, and he may argue that the current situation, with borders closing in Europe, is proving him right, but with anti-Muslim scaremongering and radical rhetoric he has clearly crossed the line. At least, for a “social-democratic” politician. Would the next government be more pro-European? (Read more...)
47% of participants of the poll concerning the question "What sentiments do You have in regards to the official logo of Slovak 2016 Presidency of EU?" have answered "positive". The answer "negative" received a little more than half as many votes (24%). 29% of participants labeled their attitude towards the logo as "indifferent".
While the results of the poll itself are not statistically significant due to limited size of the polled sample (38 votes) and can be, with cca. 1/5 probability explained as a result of a mere chance (non-directional p-value~0.197), they nonetheless indicate that MFEA's choice of logo of the upcoming Slovak Presidency of European Council was a good one indeed.
This hypothesis is further corrobated by a fairly reasonable evaluation of logo by slovak citizens active on social networks. Hence, only few tentatives making fun of the logo appeared (1, 2, 3) and were of little visual and|or intellectual interest. Exception among these was a variant proposed by a Bratislava-based NGO Cyklokoalicia which has decided to embrace the biggest event of modern Slovak history with following visuals:
Good luck, CykloKoalicia, and may Your breaks not betray You!
Reasons behind a recent slowdown of this website have just been explained. Since February 26th, our servers had to deal with more than 70 thousand requests targeting the most computationally demanding scripts publicly accessible on our machines.
File containing the list of malevolent IP addresses is available here and has been just forwarded to authorities. Unfortunately, whole thing seems to be reminiscent of a fairly standard denial-of-service attack executed through so-called botnets. It thus cannot be excluded that somebody - be it a person, a group or on institution - considers the very existence of this website so disturbing that recourse to such brute methods seem to be in his (or her) eyes as justified.
We hereby let the entity behind the attack know that violence and intrigues are not a means how one could influence the content we publish and the way how we publish it. And we ask our readers to excuse occasional slowdowns which may potentially occur before our project migrates to stronger hardware.
Shortly before the elections two ministers and top politicians of the ruling Smer party face allegations of involvement in an international VAT fraud scheme from 2007-2011.
The fraud committed by the group of businesspeople cost the state at least €75 million. In carousel fraud, the fraudster charges VAT on goods in a multi-jurisdictional transaction without paying the tax owed to the state. Such schemes often involve transactions of agricultural products, like grain, sugar and sunflower oil, as well as mobile phones. More than 100 Slovak, Czech, Polish, Latvian, Hungarian, but also Irish and American companies were making fictitious transactions, mainly with bricks, platinum, or investment gold. At the centre of the scheme was the Tatra Trade Corporation (TTC) company.
The Trend weekly reported January 27, 2016 that it had a document in its possession “resembling an investigation file”. The file, which Trend “cannot vouch to be 100-percent true”, contains a record of interviews with the lawyer Milan Chovanec, who had already admitted to comission of crime in November 2013. In file leaked by Trend, Chovanec mentions the current Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák and Transport Minister Ján Počiatek as involved in the fraud. The two men, who served as ministers also in 2006-2010 government, were allegedly helping to cover up the corrupt act. (Read more...)
State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Igor Slobodník held talks with his Bosnia and Herzegovina´s counterpart, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Josip Brkić on 24th February.
Slobodník congratulated his counterpart on having submitted its EU application on 15 February 2016, as he considers this to be an important step in realizing the European integration ambitions of his country. “I believe that submitting the EU application will stimulate even more the speed of the progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the European Union,” stated Slobodník. The State Secretary confirmed Slovakia’s support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in its Euro-Atlantic ambitions and its readiness to assist the country also during the upcoming Presidency of Slovakia of the Council of the European Union. (Read more...)
Slovakia’s government is finishing talks on foreign investment projects worth as much as 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), which will allow the eastern euro-area member to boost growth and help cover the costs of increased social spending, Premier Robert Fico said.
Announcements on some of the projects will happen “in the coming days,” Fico said in an interview Tuesday in the capital Bratislava. The 51-year old former lawyer, who’s seeking his third term as prime minister in March 5 general elections, said keeping Slovakia among the European Union’s fastest-growing countries is his priority.
“We will fight for every investment -- I care a lot that Slovakia excels in economic growth,” said Fico seated in the government office. “I believe that with effective tax collection and savings, such as on public administration, we can generate hundreds of millions of euros for new social measures.”
What the PM did not said, however, was that the reason why Slovakia attracts foreign investors is simple indeed: with 611 € median monthly wage (i.e. three-times lower than that of neighboring Austria), the price of Slovak labor force belongs to cheapest in European Union and is therefore of non-negligable interest for cost-reduction oriented investors.
Simply stated, the key to national economic growth according to the Supreme Leader of the party SMER can be described as such: sell the land and people for a cheap price, reroute part of money into deposit of the ruling political party, distribute the surplus among oligarchs and then use the media machinery (owned by the very same oligarchs) to convince the majority that it should consider its increasing enslavement as a feat of economic success. (Read more...)
Not less than 504 lecturers from 19 universities have taken part in the strike organised by the Initiative of University Teachers (IVU), according to the February 22 data.
The strike was recently joined by staff from the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of Comenius University in Bratislava and the Pedagogical Faculty of Trnava University. Marches in several Slovak towns are scheduled for February 24, with the lecturers on strike planning to “beat out the truth on Slovak education”. (Read more...)
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico outlined four issues that might influence the country's agenda during the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which is scheduled for the second half of 2016.
After a session of the Solidarity and Development Council on the country's upcoming Presidency of the EU Council on Monday, Fico referred to Greece's financial crisis, the Nord Stream 2 project, Britain's withdrawal from the European Union and security threats connected to migration and the situation in Ukraine and Syria. "Such a tough role can only be handled by a strong government," added Fico, also known as Hranol in certain intelligence circles.
According to Fico, Slovakia will have to spend around 70 million euro (77.15 million U.S. dollars) on the presidency. (Read more...)
The official logo and related materials (PressKit, Presskit FAQ, Author info) of 1st Slovak Presidency of European Union (SK PRES 2016) have recently appeared on the website of Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
According to MFA's website, logo's ludic objective is to present Slovakia as a young and dynamic country. Logo which integrates specifically slovak elements (e.g. a diacritic sign and a tricolore) was designed by a 23-year old artist Jakub Dušička and was chosen in a public competition with more than 200 participants. (Read more...)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajcakia will replace it in this function as of 1 July.
In this regard, Minister Lajcak.
"One of the main roles of the European Union at present is its overall stabilization – be it in the process of functioning or adopting decisions and reactions to the current challenges” informed the Slovak MFA. (Read more...)
Slovakia has been positively affirmed by Fitch Ratings. The agency has affirmed Slovakia’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at A+, with a stable outlook.
Fitch says that A+ ratings for Slovakia balance robust institutions, including the country’s membership of the eurozone. In reality, finances of experts working in Slovak health and education sectors tend to fall into region of red numbers, and when it comes to Slovakia's membership of the eurozone, rhetorics of Slovak PM steadily does his best to undermine it.
Such slovak realities notwithstanding, Fitch rating immitates those of Standard & Poor’s who, on January 29 confirmed Slovakia’s rating at A+ with a stable outlook thus placing Slovakia, along with Ireland, now has the ninth-best rating from among 19 eurozone countries. (Read more...)
As of 10 February 2016, non-governmental organizations and schools can apply for grants (c.f. Call, Topics, Methodic Handbook) from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic for events aimed at making the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union more visible. The Presidency will start on 1 July and will last for six months.
"The Slovakia´s Presidency of the Council of the EU is a pan-societal event. We care that the Presidency and European topics are discussed not only in Bratislava but also in the regions, cities, towns and villages all over Slovakia,” said Ivan Korčok, the Government Plenipotentiary for the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union and State Secretary of the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry.
The European Union will either manage to get migration under control this year or it will collapse, Prime Minister Robert Fico wrote in an article published on Tuesday. A baptized communist with nationalist rhetorics, JUDr. Fico has long held a tough anti-immigration stance and made tackling the flow of refugees the main platform of his campaign for Slovakia's March 5 parliamentary election.
"Whether someone likes it or not, 2016 will be the year when the EU will either get the migration crisis under control or collapse." wrote Fico in business daily Hospodarske Noviny. Note that it is from July of this very year, i.e. 2016, that Slovakia shall Preside the Council of European Union hence putting a doctor Fico into a position whereby he could execute effective measures so that his prophecy-like statemens could potentially get self-fulfilled.
In other terms, current Slovak Prime Minister is a "socialist" who does not hesitate to rhetorically put the future of the continent at stake in exchange for scoring some points among xenofobic part of his domestic pre-electoral audience.
From the context and content of such statements, it is once again evident that doctor Fico - coloquially known as Hranol by fellow peers - does not have a clue niether about complexity of the situation, nor about solidity of European project. Unfortunately, it may also be the case that from a position of a supreme leader of the politbureau of the party SMER which controls practically all Slovak instituions of power, Fico considers hard-working people in Brussels as stupid (bureau|techno)crats and values on which the European project is founded: that is, diversity, education and solidarity...are simply not a part of his mental and moral repertoire. (Read more...)
It’s been a brutal start to the year for equity investors. Unless, that is, you are in Slovakia, a country which shall soon preside the Council of European Union.
This year-to-date the S&P 500 has fallen 8%, European stocks are down 13% and Asian investors have seen their portfolios pummeled. But Slovakia’s tiny SAX index was up 6.4% in 2016 through end-Friday, taking gains for the past 12 months to 36.6%. (Read more...)
Political directors of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Visegrad Group countries (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic) will visit Belarus today. The Visegrad Group delegation is set to meet with senior officials of the Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the representatives of the Presidential Administration and the Government of Belarusia.
“Such issues as the interaction between Belarus and Visegrad Group countries, the status and prospects of cooperation between Belarus and the EU, and also regional security issues are to be discussed at the meetings,” - the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus informs.
The visits of the Western politicians will be held in the lead-up to the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union, which is scheduled for February 15 in Brussels. The sanctions against Lukashenko and his entourage are also on the agenda. (Read more...)
Vast construction and beautifying works in the streets of the Slovak capital will start in upcoming months. Thus, Bratislava will patch and improve all that can be done in the short time until June, to raise its appeal to the expected 20,000 visitors and delegates who will arrive in the capital of the country presiding over the EU Council.
However, many Bratislava citizens and urban activists are quite sceptical in regards to such efforts and label them as 21st century reminiscence of a traditional oriental concept of a nicely furnished Potemkin village. (Read more...)
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel switched on the first Wendelstein 7-X hydrogen plasma on 3 February 2016 at a ceremony attended by numerous guests from the realms of science and politics. This moment marked the start of scientific operation of Europe's most powerful fusion reactor of a sterellator type which paves the path towards solution able to cover mankind's growing energy without failing necessary climate goals. Good luck, Wendelstein!
Slovakia has announced plans to commemorate the first Slovak presidency of the Council of the European Union with a circulating commemorative €2 coin. One million coins celebrating the event are due for release sometime in March.
The obverse of the coin is dominated by the coat of arms of the Slovak Republic at its center against a background of dynamic lines representing the position and importance of the Slovak Republic during its presidency of the Council of the European Union. To the right of the coat of arms of the Slovak Republic is the year 2016. Around the edge of the inner circle is an inscription translating to “Slovak Presidency of the EU Council”. (Read more...)
Boosting the economy and economic growth will be one of the objectives of Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This was emphasized by Miroslav Lajcak and international business leaders today.
“We want to make sure that the future of the EU stands on a sounder economic foundation, we want to focus on full use of the potential of the single market, on promoting a favorable business climate and creating jobs,” stated the Minister and added "The Presidency of the Council of the EU is a society-wide event where cooperation with the private and business sectors is indispensable". (Read whole speech...)
To mark the start of the Dutch EU Council Presidency, as well as a joint Trio Presidency of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta in the EU Council, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Bratislava, in collaboration with the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs have organized both contemporary as well as classical concert.
The concert took place in a neo-renaissance building of Slovak National Theatre. Described as "simply beautiful" and "being of high cultural value" by all spectators interrogated by sk16.eu - the venue was opened with the Anthem of the European Union performed by the Music of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. Also included in the program was a talk held by Dutch Ambassador Richard Van Rijssen which presented the EU Presidency Trio to slovak audience. (Read more...)
Thousands of Slovak teachers have gone on strike to demand higher pay, forcing authorities to close hundreds of schools across the country. Organizers say more than 11,000 teachers from over 700 schools are participating in the strike.
They say the average salary for teachers in Slovakia is only about 650 per month and has barely increased in the last five years. For comparison: in neighboring Austria where costs of living are comparable (or often lower) than in Bratislava, the minimum basic statutory salary of a public school teacher is more than four times higher in Slovakia. (Compare pages 74 and 84 in EACEA Analysis of Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe)
Several hundred slovak nurses and midwives will start leaving their posts in hospitals across the country in February. Main reasons of their strike is the law on salary conditions adopted in November 2015 as well as deteroriated and evermore deteriorating working conditions.
The Health Ministry assures patients that the hospitals will manage the situation even after February, but some associations point to the critical state, especially in facilities where a considerable number of nurses want to leave.
A baptized communist he is, the plenipotentiary Prime Minister Judr. Robert Fico respects the right of every person to protest. But at the press conference held on January 19, he has turned out to be rather critical of the way how nurses show their disagreement. “I would not leave the patients,” said the supreme leader (Read more...)
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic seeking to involve the widest possible circle of domestic partners in Slovakia’s first Presidency of the Council of the European Union, has offered a unique opportunity to non-governmental organizations, municipalities, cities, regions, schools and other organizations to include the auspices of the presidency during their planned events.
"Our Presidency of the Council of the EU is a society-wide role and an opportunity to present all of our country. It is of great importance to us to make sure that this role is disseminated in the widest possible general and professional public, in the regions, cities and municipalities all across Slovakia. Through granting auspices during Slovakia’s Presidency we seek to give more visibility to events that will contribute to society-wide discussion and raise interest in our Presidency and the European Union as well,” said Minister Lajcak/web/en/news/detail/-/asset_publisher/oLViwP07vPxv/content/mzvaez-sr-zverejnuje-vyzvu-na-udelovanie-zastity-predsednictva-v-rade-eu/10182?p_p_auth=dDT3gopv&_101_INSTANCE_oLViwP07vPxv_redirect=%2Fweb%2Fen">Read more...)
“Not only are we refusing mandatory quotas, we will never make a voluntary decision that would lead to the formation of a united Muslim community in Slovakia, This is the only way to eliminate the risks,” Fico said last week, rejecting a European Union plan to resettle 120,000 refugees among 26 of the EU’s 28 member states.
Fico has also called for a summit of EU members to address immigration and refugee issues. In December, his left-nationalist government filed a lawsuit challenging the EU decree that it must accept 802 migrants irrespective of their religious background. Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic also oppose the refugee plan, according to CNS News. (Read more...)
Profoundly traumatized by New Year's Eve events in Cologne, supreme leader of the Party which governs the Slovak Republic, Prime Minister Juris Utrisque Doctor Robert Fico tries to save the chastity of "Jungfrau Europa" (and further impress the Slovak pre-electoral audience) by articulating a following call:
"I call on the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to look into accelerating the decision on putting in place a European coastguard and border guard corps" Fico told reporters. (Read more...)
Since January 1, Slovakia is in the state of “half-chairing” the European Union, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the EU, Peter Javorčík, said as quoted by the TASR newswire.
“We are closely monitoring the steps and activities of the beginning of the Dutch presidency of the European Council, well aware of the fact that part of the European agenda will probably fall also on the shoulders of the Slovak presidency starting July 1, 2016,” he added in the beginning of January.
A whole team has already been completed to ensure effective execution of the Slovak EU presidency: there are about 170 people in Brussels. (Read more...)
Modern Slovakia was born on 1st january 1993, as a consequence of a non-violent split of former Czechoslovak Federative Republic into brethren Slovak and Czech Republics. Asides the 2nd world war "Slovak State" satellite of the nazi Germany, the current SK republic is a first modern-era tentative to establish an autonomous administrative formation on plains, hills and forrests amidst the Panonian Basin and Tatra mountains.
* similiary to french and german languages, the personal noun "Republika" is considered to be a feminine (and not neutral) substantive in slovak language. For this reason we shall refer to the term with feminine pronouns like "her" and not neutral pronouns like "it".
The organization commitee of Dutch January - July 2016 Presidency of European Council has finally decided to make public their official website.
In spite of its apparent simplicity and tidyness, the nicely responsive website contains many pieces of useful information (e.g. the 1st general media note in the "Documents" section etc.).
First person interviewed for sk16.eu project was first woman Prime Minister of Slovakia (from 2010 to 2012), professor Iveta Radicova. In this video, she answers a seemingly trivial question: "Is Slovakia in European Union ?".
More videos shall soon follow on sk16 subproject osveta.
Slovak government has approved €15 million for the city of Bratislava to prepare for Slovakia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2016.
A total of €14 million will be used for projects that come under the remit of Bratislava City Hall and €1 million for projects under the remit of Bratislava’s Old Town borough, the TASR newswire wrote. The money will be invested in reconstructing infrastructure and engineering buildings, revitalising public spaces, reconstructing protected cultural landmarks and buildings, projects aimed at cleanliness and greenery as well as marketing, communications and culture.
During their first appearance at UEFA Euro 2016 Football Championate, slovak team shall confront Wales on 11th June 2016 in Bordeaux, Russia on 15th June in Lille and England on 20th June in Saint-Etienne.
What's more, in case of successful advancement into quatre-final, the performance of slovak squadra could overlap with first days of first Slovak Presidency of European Union which shall start on 1st July.
First weeks of summer 2016 thus seem to bring about moments of double historical significance, potentially allowing the young state with population of 5 million, to affirm itself as a solid component of the European project .
Increasing number of teachers do not fear to express their disapproval of the fact that the salary of a teacher beginning his carreer as a paid employee of Slovak Ministry of Education is 3,83 € (brutto). That is, less than an average babysitter. Thus, many schools, especially from Bratislava region, have joined a strike-like initiative "Babysitting day" to raise the public awareness of their decreasing living standard in a country where cost of food is comparable (or even higher) than in Germany or Austria.
In a reaction to the initiative, Slovak Ministry of Education has published its opinion, labeling the initiative as a violation of working discipline. And "defending itself" with clarification that an average salary of a teacher of Slovak public gymnasium is 941€/163 hours = 5,98 € (brutto)...
The Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta, the member states entrusted with the EU Presidency during the 18-month period from January 2016 to July 2017, have presented their declaration on gender equality during the EPSCO Council.
In the declaration, it is stated that achieving gender equality is one of the objectives and tasks of the European Union, and that mainstreaming equality between women and men in all its activities represents a general aim of the Union. Equality between women and men is a prerequisite for ensuring growth, prosperity, welfare, and social inclusion. (Read more..)
With unprecedented swift & ease did Slovak prime minister JUDr. Robert Fico and the Minister of Interior, JUDr. Robert Kalinak, reacted to the Paris tragedy. Thus, in less than 4 weeks after the attacks, Slovak parliament have passed the constitutional amendment. According to certain high-profile commentators, these amendments could slowly but steadily transform Slovak Republic into a full-fledged police state.
In a 95-25 vote Tuesday, the lawmakers agreed to double the time such a suspect can be detained, from 48 to 96 hours. The amendment also extends to six days the time during which a judge has to decide whether a terror suspect will be kept in detention or released. (Read more...)
Slovakia has made good on its threat to sue the EU over the imposition of a mandatory quota system to redistribute more than 120,000 people now in Italy and Greece in need of “international protection” throughout the bloc.
Prime Minister Robert Fico aka Hranol said his government had filed a complaint yesterday morning at the Court of Justice in Luxembourg that asks judges to declare the temporary measures adopted by EU interior ministers on 22 September as invalid. (Read more...)
The European Union’s quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc will be appealed by Slovakia.
“The justice ministry, together with representatives of relevant ministries, is working on preparing the lawsuit,” justice ministry spokeswoman Alexandra Donevova told the Agence France-Press (AFP). She said it would be “submitted before December 18”. Bratislava intends to lodge the suit with the European Court of Justice, which adjudicates in disputes over how EU law is interpreted and applied. (Read more...)
With the upcoming general election nearing, the scenario from 2012 is repeating: a file leaked from intelligence service discredits close ties between corrupted politicians, businessmen – and this time also an intelligence boss.
This time around, the scenario is repeated and on November 20 an anonymous person posted online the file dubbed: Gorilla Slovakia II, allegedly containing transcripts of the conversations of former SIS counter-intelligence’s department boss, Ľubomír A. (Read more...)
We in Europe are proud of our historic heritage including Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. We should remember and occasionally remind ourselves that during the Middle Ages, Greek ideas were largely forgotten in Western Europe. They re-entered the West through translations from Arabic to Latin thanks to Islamic philosophers such as Al-Kindi (Alkindus), Al-Farabi(Alpharabius), Ibn Sina ( Avicenna ) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes). The reintroduction of these philosophies, accompanied by the new Arabic commentaries, had a great influence on Medieval philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas. That has been a real contribution of Islam to Europe. We need more Islamic philosophers and scientists and less hate preachers.
These words were uttered by Miroslav Lajcak's speech in English and French...)
Statement of Slovak Prime Minister, doctor Robert Fico that "all muslims in Slovakia are under surveillance" as well as his repeated acts of association of regufees with terrorists had induced many critical reactions. In an interview for journal SME, Anne Dastakian, a journalist for well-known french journal Marianne had reacted: "That terrorists could have exploited the refugee crisis does not mean that all refugees are terrorists. Even Marine Le Pen would not utter such stupidity." (Read more...)
Even sharper critics was expressed by Martin Michelot, researcher in Institute for European Policy EUROPEUM who commented Fico's verbal behaviour as follows: "Such approach is...extremly bad. Comments of Robert Fico only induce fear and panics. I understand that in march 2016 Slovakia shall held elections, but this is very disturbing and unfortunate." (Read more...)
In a swiftly yet professionally organised aftermath of Paris 13.11.15 attacks, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico hasn't hesitated to interpret the tragedy in a way that suits his pre-electoral needs. While he tacitly ignored the fact that Bataclan attackers looked to be of north African descent and spoke fluent French without an accent, Mr. Fico utilitarized an instantly organized press conference to score political points among xenophobic parts of Slovak electorate.
“We have been saying for several months that the security risks linked to migration are huge,” said doctor Fico with a face expressing the satisfaction of a wizard whose dark self-fulfilling prophecy came true. (Read more...)
Slovak police has started to investigate the suspicion that former Smer MP, Vladimír Jánoš, accepted money for the ruling party from the head of Hornonitrianske Bane (Upper Nitra Mines) in Prievidza, Peter Čičmanec and was passing the money further to governing party Smer or even to its leader, current prime minister Robert Fico.
It is worth mentioning that Upper Nitra Mines belongs to three mining companies which have received, just in 2010, approximately 100 milion € in state "dotations" for brown coal production.
The suspicion was initiated by social-media leak of a video in which the ex-wife of Janos describes the corrupt practices of her husband who used to bring home millions of euro in cash, packing them into aluminium foil (in order to prevent them from burning) and subsequently forwarding the money further to Smer and Fico. (Read more...)
The European Commission has noticed that Slovakia has not been fulfilling its duties stemming from the EU quotas on re-distribution of refugees among member states.
By the end of October, Slovakia was obliged to state how many refugees it can accept and accommodate by the end of this year. In the first phase, 802 people should come to the country according to the approved quotas. Slovakia has reacted by saying that it will accept a maximum of 200 refugees. (Read more...)
Leaders of nine Central and Eastern European and Baltic states said in a joint statement on Wednesday they were gravely concerned by Russia's "continuing aggressive posturing" and backed a sustainable NATO military presence in the region.
"We will stand firm on the need for Russia to return to respect of international law as well as of its international obligations, responsibilities and commitments as a pre-condition for a NATO–Russia relationship based on trust and confidence," presidents of Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and Romania + president of czech parliament said in a joint declaration. (Read more...)
Exactly 10 years ago, not further than 150 meters from the building of Slovak Ministry of Interior, had the young man with long hair and a guitar died because of severe wounds caused by a knife attack. In the past, multiple persons from slovak neonazi scene - also associated with the mafia group known as "piťovci" - were charged and prosecuted the Ministry. However, all suspects were liberated during the office of the current Minister of Interior Robert Kalinak.
Whether both Ministries of Interior and Justice had done what they could to investigate the case is, of course, place for argument. But according to the father of the murdered philosphy student, they didn't, and while obliged to "accept" the non-prosecution of killers as a fact, the father still consideres as "a mystery" why the police refused to use the lie detector when in other cases (e.g. security clearances), it does. (Read more...)
Almost 3000 Slovak netizens have signed the "call for opened collaboration" published on site slovensko.digital. In their call, many prominent IT specialist from private sector, 3rd sector as well as Academia openly criticize corrupt investments of public and european money and invite the government to collaborate on more transparent solutions.
Being far from marginal, signataries of the call have received support from the head of the state, president Andrej Kiska, stating that "after 8 years, the state has succeeded to accomplish exactly half of itss assignment - to spend 900 million euros" and labeling the current status quo of slovak informatic society as a "shame". (Read more...)
The investigation of the case which involves also one of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s friends Miroslav Výboh, has been closed.
The Austrian prosecutor’s office charged two people in the corruption case pertaining to the purchase of the armoured vehicles for the Czech Republic worth billions of Czech crowns. The part of the investigation which took place in Austria has been leading to Výboh and Israeli citizen Lova Drori, who worked for the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. (Read more...)
More than 9 months before the SK PRES and our websites sk16.eu and 2016sk.eu have been viewed more than 5000 times in less than 2 days. Hence, it is time to introduce ourselves:
Project sk16 is a tactical medium whose objective is to aggregate informations coming principially from non-establishement sources and furnish them - during Slovak Republic's 2016 presidency of European Council (SK PRES) - to international audience.
A brief introduction to the project is presented on this presentation (use arrows keys or spacebar to move between the slides).
Visiting the Slovak city of Levoca, the United Nations Secretary-General stressed the importance of the role of the local community, particularly mayors and governors, and the importance of living harmoniously and in a sustainable way.
“I am honoured and pleased to visit this historic city of Levoca, and I’d like to thank you for all your efforts to preserve this historical culture and heritage, and civilization and proud history of your country,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters at the town’s City Hall. (Read more...)
Director of a partially state-run Slovak Business Agency starts to have some difficult time in explaining the (€1.4 million) costs of the startup conference TechMatch.
The fact that decision-makers of a country where an average monthly salary of a university teacher is estimated to be around € 890 eur a month (source) hadn't hesitate to pay €60000 euro to Guy Kawasaki had also raised certain eyebrows.
However, participants seemed to enjoy the event, notably after the Keynote speaker had reassured them that he's not to be associated with the motocycle production: "I have worked with Steve Jobs", boasted Kawasaki, thus initiating a singular event worth cca. 2% of budget of whole SK PRES 6-month presidency.
FOR THE first time in the history of independent Slovakia, the country’s football representation advances to UEFA EURO Championship taking place in France next year.
The match against Luxembourg ended up with a final score of 4:2. Slovak goals were scored by Marek Hamšík, Adam Nemec and Robert Mak. Mario Mutch and Jans Gerson scored for Luxembourg. Read more...
Being famous for its strongly pro-automobile politics, capital without a metro, capital with the least attractive central train station and the most expensive highways (12.5 million eur/km) in Europe, Slovak Minister of Transport and construction has decided to break another record in corruption-ressembling "friend-directed distribution of public and european money".
Thus, more than 4.2 billion EUR are supposed to be invested into 20th-century style circle of ring and asphalt and concrete surrounding Bratislava. Id est, twice as much as was invested into bypass of neighboring austrian capital Wien.
According to study recently published by non-governmental Institute for Economic and Social Reforms, the project is based on manipulated data and overpriced for at least 800-million euros.
Know more from the infographics: Better ways how to spend 4 200 000 000€ instead of overpriced bypass road.
President Andrej Kiska delivered a speech before the MPs of the Slovak National Council on the position of Slovakia in Europe on Wednesday. Here are the highlights from his address:
"Slovakia has the capacities to help. Accepting several hundred or even thousand people fleeing from the war and violence would definitely be in Slovakia’s powers. It would pose no threat to Slovakia, nor would it have any impact on how good or bad the life of people living in Slovakia is. A lot of associations and individuals, Christian and other organisations have offered to help the people who are trying to escape the war and its atrocities." Read more...
Slovak EU presidency will bring the country a more convenient connection with Brussels. The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair will fly passengers from Bratislava to Brussels’ main airport instead of the more distant Charleroi airport as of April 2016.
“Ryanair … has promptly responded to our request to move its flight from the more distant Charleroi airport where it flew so far to the main airport Brussels-Zaventem as of April 2016,” said Ivan Trhlík, CEO of Letisko M. R. Štefánika – Airport Bratislava, as cited in the airport’s press release. “In line with the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union from July 2016 the demand for a direct and regular daily air connection of Bratislava and Brussels will significantly increase.” Read more...
Slovakia is to take legal action at the European Court of Justice against the European Union's plan to force all member countries share out 120,000 asylum seekers, Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Wednesday.
Slovakia should initially take in 802 migrants under the EU relocation scheme, which it sees as an encouragement for migrants to keep coming. Read more...
Let us focus solely on the last (at this moment) stage of this drama: The EU Council of Ministers has used the “nuclear option” of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in a politically highly sensitive area. The PM of one member state – Slovakia – says that he will simply ignore that legitimate decision. “From my dead-cold hand.” He will deliberately breach European law, risking open conflict with the institutions and most of the other member states. Even the prospect of sanctions.There are a couple of bad things you could say about Fico, but surely not that he’s stupid. He knows that playing with deep-seeded prejudices – against “the others”, which now means Muslims, against the “dictate from Brussels”, etc. – scores political points. He knows only too well that infringement procedures take a long time to unfurl. No decision can be expected before the next general elections. For now, that´s what counts. And, of course, he knows that between now and a possible Court decision against Slovakia, hundreds of things could happen. Read more...
On Wednesday, the President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, proposed to suspend the Slovak Direction Third Way Party (SMER) from the Party of European Socialists (PES).
This is not the first time SMER’s membership of the Party of European Socialists would be suspended. The same happened in 2006, following the party’s alliance with ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party. The PES Chairman at the time, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, explained to the Slovak press that “… forming a coalition with the extreme right is unacceptable.” Read more...
European social democratic parties are parties traditionally associated with economic policies of taxing and spending and policies designed to fighting discrimination. And while most socialists in Europe remain true to these values, especially the latter, Slovakia’s socialists live a comfortable illusion that they too can call themselves social democrats regardless of the policies they pursue...
While not neo-liberal in the extreme, the country’s social democrats have found themselves more comfortable in a territory of the centre-right than that of the centre-left.The leader of the Slovak socialists and the current Prime Minister Robert Fico has attributed to and blamed the higher levels of unemployment on the Roma people who are mostly jobless. Unfortunately, the Roma are not the only minority in the country that has been blessed with attention from the so-called socialists. While issues such as gender equality and separation of Church and state have become taboo (in itself another failure of the socialists), Smer have authored and initiated, along with the Christian Democrats, an insertion into the country’s constitution of a definition of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. Read more...
As we can see, the refugees are certainly in need of acts of kindness. I hope there will be concerted efforts in doing whatever we can to help to alleviate their sufferings, considering that they are fellow brothers and sisters.
I am therefore pleased to join Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic and many of his friends in their Plea for Humanity over the migrant crisis currently facing Europe. Read more...
We, the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group, meeting in Prague on 4 September 2015 on the occasion of an Extraordinary Visegrad GroupSummit on migration adopt hereby the following Joint Statement:
The countries of the Visegrad Group express profound sadness over the loss of lives of thousands of people in the context of the current migration situation in Europe. They underline that migration flows present a complex and serious challenge for the EU and its MemberStates. Hungary belongs among those most exposed to migratory pressures and affected by their impacts. The Prime Ministers of the CzechRepublic, Poland and the SlovakRepublic therefore reiterate their full support to Hungary in tackling this challenge. As an expression of their solidarity, the Prime Ministers stand ready to provide Hungary with further assistance. Read more...
My own dreams are fading away. Dreams about returning home to my beautiful Slovakia, dreams about walking barefoot in the grass, drinking fresh water from the tap, speaking my mother tongue again…these dreams fade away because of one world: HATE. I still can’t believe that back home, I will meet people who hate other people so much, wishing them death.
Nowadays, this is the hot topic, never-ending discussion in Europe and in my home country. I’m not able to provide a long term solution; these few words of mine are meant to lead to a small experiment. Look out of your home window please and imagine that this is the last time in your life that you see your familiar surroundings. Read more...
Today 71 people died on our doorstep. Children, women and men. They were not terrorists, they were people fleeing war. They died in terrible circumstances, suffocating in a van left parked at the side of a road.
It did not happen in Africa, it did not happen in the Mediterranean, it happened a couple of kilometers outside of Slovakia. If we liked to think that the suffering of refugees is something distant, something that doesn’t concern us, we can no longer do so.
What happened today shows the suffering of refugees is not an abstract political problem. It is a matter of life and death of individual humans. No decent person can stay indifferent when people die before her very eyes. We must try to help. Read more...
Today, the Slovak Republic commemorates the 47th anniversary of Warsaw Pact troops invading Czechoslovakia and the start of more than twenty years of Soviet occupation of our country. These events represent a dark chapter in the history of the traditionally good Slovak-Russian relations. The Slovak Republic appreciates that, in the past, top political representatives of the Russian Federation have officially dissociated themselves from and apologized for the August 1968 invasion and the occupation that followed. A necessary prerequisite for a constructive development of bilateral relations is to come to terms with the past based on historic facts.
Unfortunately, attempts to rewrite history and falsify the historic truth about the invasion of Czechoslovakia continue to appear. In May 2015, the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) broadcasted a documentary entitled “Warsaw Pact – Pages Declassified” with the authors´ commentary containing misrepresentations and old ideological clichés. Read more...
Slovakian Interior Ministry spokesman Ivan Metik now insists that Slovakia will only accept Christian arrivals to the Eastern European nation. And he warned this week that Muslims should not move to Slovakia because they will not easily integrate with the country’s majority Christian population.
“We could take 800 Muslims, but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia, so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?” he told the BBC. Read more...
EXTREMELY hot weather from which Slovakia suffered this year is beyond the expectations of climatologists. “What we are witnessing now should have occurred only in the middle of this century,” climatologists Alexander Ač, Pavel Matejovič and Jozef Pecho wrote in an open letter to the president, the government, and the parliament, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “The reality is thus much worse than the most pessimistic climate scenarios.”
The Environment Ministry claims it tries to stop climate change. The problem should, however, be solved also on the global level, said its spokesperson Maroš Stano. He also said that Slovakia in this respect supports European Union policy, as reported by TASR. Read more...
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic offers artists, architects and graphical designers a unique opportunity to be involved in a visual presentation of Slovakia’s first-ever presidency of the Council of the European Union and design the decoration of the Council’s premises in the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels.
The public call for submission of projects for artistic design of premises in the Council building, which is expected to combine creativity and a positive message about Slovakia, was published by the Ministry on its website on 31 July 2015. Read more...
Slovakia’s credit rating was raised by Standard & Poor’s, which cited accelerating economic growth and government efforts to narrow the budget deficit and trim debt.
The euro-area member’s assessment was increased one step to A+, S&P’s fifth-top investment grade and on par with Israel and Ireland. “We expect growth in the Slovak Republic will accelerate further in 2015, supported by favorable external and domestic factors,” S&P analyst Felix Winnekens said Friday in an e-mailed statement from Frankfurt. “Policy makers will continue to gradually consolidate government finances and lower the debt burden.” Read more...
THE AUSTRIAN government calls its recent deal to have Slovakia accommodate hundreds of asylum-seekers who no longer fit into the overcrowded camps in Austria a pilot project, but officials admit the two year plan could be extended.
Some 500 asylum-seekers in Austria should find a temporary home in Slovakia. The deal is to last two years, but if the project proves successful, it could be prolonged to three or even four years. Read more...
IN EXACTLY one year Slovakia will take over, for the first time in its history, the six-month EU presidency.
“This is an unprecedented challenge not only for the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry and the cabinet but the whole country,” Miroslav Lajcakia based on how it handles this opportunity, how it manages the Council of the EU, and how far it is able to move the EU agenda forward and reach agreements...Read more...
The Trio that will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union between January 2016 and June 2017 – the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta – held further talks today in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Following the last meeting of the Trio held in Malta in March 2015, talks in Slovakia continue to define the common agenda which will be addressing the main issues that the Council will be dealing with throughout the 18 months..Read more...
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic has been unpleasantly surprised by the misleading presentation of the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies in Czechoslovakia in 1968 in the documentary “Warsaw Pact - Pages Declassified” broadcast by Russian state television Rossija 1 on May 23, 2015.
In the parts concerning the military invasion and the subsequent 20-year occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet armies, the documentary used misrepresentations and old ideological clichés...
Broadcasting this documentary, which attempts to rewrite history and to falsify historical truths about such a dark chapter of our history, damages the traditionally good relations between Slovakia and Russia.Read more...
Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak Republic to the European Union in Brussels on May 18.
Ivan Korčok, Ambassador at the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU in Brussels and others attended the ceremony. The rental contract for the building will last three years. The premises are designed to serve mainly the needs of Slovakia’s EU Presidency in the second half of 2016.
“This represents an important milestone in our preparations for the EU Presidency,” said Lajcakias-representation-to-eu.html">Read more...
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes Slovakia will speed up his country's long-standing EU accession process during its term presidency in the organization in 2016.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava on Tuesday, Erdogan said Turkey attached high importance to Slovakia's term of presidency in the EU in 2016's second term.
He said: "Slovakia will take over the term presidency in the EU in 2016. I wish them good luck in advance and believe that Slovakia will speed up this process, which sometimes came to the blocking point."Read more...
During the presidency there will be about 200 negotiations attended by some 20,000 people held in Bratislava, as well as other summits which will take place in Brussels. The costs should not exceed €70 million, according to Sme.
Ethics watchdog Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) is, however, concerned about potential corruption, especially regarding the public procurement where the Foreign Affairs Ministry, as an organiser of the presidency, will have some exceptions. Read more...
Employment, interlinked particularly with education, is a good potential issue to be included in the priorities of the Slovak presidency of the EU Council that was agreed on by panellists at the 2nd workshop of the National Convention on the EU at which discussions were held on possible presidency priorities. Read more...
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has announced the competition to design Slovakia’s logo for its EU Presidency in the second half of next year, with a financial reward of 4500 eur for the best proposal. Read more...
A low turnout in a Slovakia referendum on February 7, 2015, scuttled a measure that would have set the scene for legalized discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples, Human Rights Watch said today. The decision of the majority of voters not to participate in the referendum on this regressive measure offers some comfort to minorities in Slovakia.
“The Slovak public has indicated it does not want arbitrary discrimination against LGBT families,” said the LGBT rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The Slovakian government should protect LGBT people and their children by introducing legislation that is in line with their obligations as an EU member state and with legislation in other EU countries.” Read more...
ENERGY, the fight against tax evasion and water issues may well be among the priorities of Slovakia’s 2016 EU presidency, according to Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak, the TASR newswire reported on January 12.
“These are the issues interesting for Slovakia,” Lajcak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Most-Híd, and Sieť.
On July 1, 2016, Slovakia will replace the Netherlands that will preside over the EU as of January. According to EU rules, the presidency always falls under the remit of a group of three states for the duration of 18 months. Slovakia will assume this responsibility along with the Netherlands and Malta. Read more...