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Slovakia to focus on deeper European integration in 2018 — ministry

January 16, 2018, 10:42 UTC+3 BRATISLAVA

Slovakia has been fully integrated in the European Union, according to the secretary of Slovakia’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

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© AP Photo/Bundas Engler

BRATISLAVA, January 16. /TASS/. Slovakia links its welfare with the European Union (EU) and is building its foreign policy based on this organization’s decisions, said State Secretary of Slovakia’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Ivan Korcok.

"In a joint statement of October 23, 2017, the Slovak president, the prime minster and the parliament’s speaker stressed the republic’s univocal European and Euro-Atlantic orientation and expressed readiness to step up joint efforts in this area," he stressed in an exclusive interview with TASS. "The country’s foreign policy in 2018 focuses on reaching a wider, deeper European integration, including the sphere of security."

Slovakia has been fully integrated in the European Union. The republic is a member of the Eurozone and the Schengen Area, the diplomat reiterated.

"The EU is constantly developing, and our strategic interest is to be part of the processes going on in the European Union. If the idea of deeper integration is supported in the organization, we don’t want to stay outside the mainstream," Ivan Korcok said.

The election of Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajcak as the chairman of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly became a significant advance of the Slovak diplomacy, in his opinion.

Relations with Russia

 Russia is one of Slovakia’s most important trade and economic partners and bilateral trade grew 30% over the past year, he said.

"In 2017, we managed to restore trade dynamics and create conditions for its further growth. Bilateral trade grew more than 30% in the first seven months of 2017, compared with the same period of previous year," Korcok said. "We give high marks to cooperation with Russia in the economic field where we focus on energy, trade, investments and tourism."

This year marks 25 years since Russia and Slovakia established diplomatic relations. In Moscow and Bratislava, the embassies of both countries opened on January 1, 1993, when the democratic Slovak state was created.

"Over the past 25 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Slovakia and Russia, our countries have been and keep on cultivating open cooperation. We have created a solid legal framework that includes some 100 intergovernmental and interdepartmental documents," he said.

The diplomat stressed the need to maintain dialogue between Moscow and Bratislava.

"Political dialogue is important and I’m glad that we openly discuss everything that is important to our countries. This happens even when our countries hold different stances as agreements or differences in approaches to certain issues are a normal condition in international relations. For us this is not an obstacle to developing dialogue, on the contrary, this is a basis for good relations," he said.

Russia and Slovakia have good chances to foster direct cooperation between regions. The only factor limiting bilateral cooperation is the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, Korcok stressed.

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