On 29 September 2015, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Slovak Parliament held hearing on the latest developments in Serbia – Kosovo dialogue and bilateral relations with Kosovo. Slovakia is one of the five EU non-recognizers of Kosovo, along with Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Spain. The expert briefing to members of the Slovak Parliament was held on the invitation of František Šebej, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and provided by Milan Nič, CEPI’s Director, and Roman Hlobeň, Director of the Department of South Eastern Europe and Turkey at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. The hearing was attended by seven MPs, most of whom were members of the ruling centre-left party Smer-SD, including the Chairman of the Parliament’s European Affairs Committee Luboš Blaha.
As Mr Hlobeň emphasized, the Slovak Republic and Kosovo have been engage in constructive talks on practical matters for many years.
Milan Nič noted that the non-recognizers among EU-28 are no longer an obstacle for completing the two milestones on Kosovo’s EU path – the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and visa liberalization. The SAA will be signed only between Kosovo and EU institutions. This arrangement helps avoid the controversial ratification process in some national parliaments.
The discussion with MPs confirmed their support for the continuation of the constructive dialogue with Kosovo, although most of them wish to maintain the non-recognition position of Slovakia. New steps might include the opening of the Kosovo Representation Office in Bratislava, once it is opened later this year in Greece where preparations are more advanced. After all, Slovakia has had its own diplomatic Liaison Office in Pristina since 2006. The MPs present at the hearing were also in favour of integrating Kosovo into the international police cooperation structures as well as international sports associations.
A few days before the hearing (24-25 September), a ranking member of the Slovak Parliament’s Defence and Security Committee and former Defence Minister Ľubomír Galko visited Prishtina for a series of meetings. Among other activities, he held talks on the future of the Slovak-Kosovar relations with Kosovo Security Minister Haki Demolli and Deputy Foreign Minister Petrit Selimi. He also had a meeting with former Deputy Interior Minister, Sasa Rašić, from the Kosovo Serb minority.