New Pact for Europe - National Report - SLOVAKIA
This is the tenth and final in a series of National Reports to be published as part of the new phase of the New Pact for Europe project. The Slovak NPE Reflection Group argues that differentiated integration is fact of life, and that Slovakia should try to stay in the 'EU core' as the Union moves ahead. However, enhanced cooperation projects must not be carried out at the expense of other, non-participating EU members, and must remain open to those willing to join later.
Since the Brexit vote, the debate about EU membership and the future of the Union has intensified and broadened in Slovakia, engaging both the elites and the wider public. The main issues discussed in the Slovak National Reflection Group (NRG) were economic and monetary governance, security and the migration crisis. The group came to the following (main) conclusions:
- The management of the Greek debt crisis has shaped the Slovak discourse in favour of fiscal responsibility, strict adherence to common rules, and a dislike of debt mutualisation. But within the NRG, there was also a broad consensus that deeper integration of the eurozone is inevitable, and that it is in the interest of Slovakia to stay on board.
- From a Slovak perspective, improving Europe's security requires more effective engagement in its neighbourhood, a better management of external borders and a strengthening of EU cooperation in internal security matters. When it comes to external threats, transnational debates showed that Slovak participants were more focused on the potential Russian threat than on radical Islam. Slovak experts would also like to see a pragmatic and constructive focus on increasing those EU military capabilities that can be deployed by the member states under the command of NATO.
- In the field of migration, the Slovak NRG debates focused on the shift from crisis management to crisis prevention. The second approach demands better external border controls, agreements with third countries such as Turkey, and a reform of the EU's asylum system. In addition, there is a need to refocus the public debate, both in Slovakia and the rest of the EU, from illegal to legal migration.