Europe is re-energising. Differentiated integration is already a reality and Slovakia has committed itself to be a part of the “core of Europe”. What would this strategic decision mean for Slovakia? How to ensure that reforms at the European Union will reflect Slovak concerns and interests?
The Slovak position did not form overnight. The discussions within the New Pact for Europe were particularly timely. They provided space for reflection on the formative events and processes that eventually brought Slovakia to where it is now. Some topics included the state of the Eurozone and proposals for necessary reforms, strategies for economic growth, upgrading of defence and security, energy security concerns and national and European migration reforms. Each issue bends through a specific Slovak context but nevertheless the Slovak interests can be advanced only by actively participating in the European processes.
The National Report reflects the discussions on the New Pact for Europe in Slovakia. Driven by GLOBSEC – these debates took place in turbulent times. The initial meeting of the Slovak National Reflection Group (NRG) was held on 30 June 2016, only a few days after the British referendum resulted in the country’s vote to leave the EU. There was another important domestic context to that date: at the stroke of midnight, Slovakia would assume the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time since joining the EU. It promised to be both a special responsibility and an immense challenge at the same time, as it seemed that the upcoming six months of the Slovak EU Presidency would be marked by management of several ongoing crises. The final meeting of the NRG took place in early March 2017, shortly before the European Union’s 60th anniversary summit in Rome that produced a Declaration built on the re-oriented political agenda and commitments articulated at the Bratislava summit in September 2016.