Although Prime Minister Robert Fico has submitted his resignation, Slovakia has managed to establish a new government, avoiding the early elections. Therefore, the V4 Alliance remains intact. Slovakia doesn’t have to deal with the presidency of our regional cooperation and preparations for a new election simultaneously. However, the strengthening Remonstrant Movement may cause a different outcome, which could be the fall of the Fico Government.
In 2018 and 2019, the main priority of the Slovakian diplomacy will be the presidency of the V4 Alliance. In June, the position will be taken by Slovakia for the fifth time. “The V4 Alliance is often criticized from outside. However, the V4 is still strategically important in the standpoints of alliance building and the assertion of Slovakia’s interest in Europe and the world.” – a quotation from the communiqué of the Slovakian Government. In 2019, Slovakia will assume the presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), following Austria and Italy. After the presidency of the European Union, Slovakia can prove its ability to build a bridge between the eastern and the western countries, one more time.
From this standpoint, the Pellegrini Government will continue to move on the middle path, which was designated by Fico’s politics. Slovakia is a pledged member of the V4 group. The country follows the policies of Poland and Hungary in the issue of migration. Furthermore, it refuses to accept the quota system and other forms of the mandatory resettlement. It also rejects the plan of financial penalty for the countries, who refuse to accommodate refugees. However, Slovakia is closer to the so-called Core-Europe, compared to the other V4 countries.
It is evident, because Slovakia is the only member of the Visegrad countries using Euro as official currency. By the time of the economic crisis in Europe, the decision to introduce the new currency was criticized by many. However, Slovakia is essentially satisfied with the Eurozone. Many characters of the economy connect the “Slovakian economic miracle” with the introduction of the Euro, which realized for our northern neighbor to reach the economic level of Hungary, then to even surpass it. Hungary and Poland are strongly refuse the Macron plan on deeper European integration, unlike the Cabinet of Germany, who has a strong economic influence and fundamentally sympathizes with the plan. Therefore, the Pellegrini Cabinet will probably mediate between the countries concerned, during its presidency.
The other priority is the geographical location of the country, which makes the strengthening of the Visegrad Cooperation even more important for Slovakia. The infrastructural projects that connect the V4 countries are important for Slovakia as well. Therefore, Slovakia has a prominent role in building the bridges on Ipel’ River, besides the construction of the high‑speed‑railway between Budapest and Warsaw. According to specialists, the researchers will have the opportunity to introduce their own ideas and recommendations, because the Slovakian Presidency Program is still under development. It is important even in the light of the tensions in domestic affairs.
The role of the Slovakian bridge is also important in the perspective of the uncertainty in the politics of the Czech Republic. Vladimir Bartovic , director of the Europeum Institute is of the opinion, that the V4 became an influential form of cooperation in Central Europe.However, the standpoints of the members on the importance of Visegrad is all different. The V4 is only an optional form of cooperation, but its importance is unquestionable for the Government of the Czech Republic. Though, the Czech economic elite would rather get closer to Germany. Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic has an important role, because he is not only a devotee of V4, but has many economic connections in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
In the Czech-Slovak perspective, the Slovakian diplomacy is already active. The first official visit of Peter Pellegrini will soon be paid in the Czech Republic at the invitation of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. In the framework of the joint programs, Pellegrini will participate at the plenary sessions of the delegations, and a reception will be hosted by the Czech House of Representatives and Senate.
The negotiations on the bilateral relations is part of the agenda. The common historical anniversaries of Slovakia and the Czech Republic are of paramount importance. Within the framework of bilateral cooperation, trade and investments, traffic, infrastructure, defense and home affairs, science, research and innovation were discussed.
Both parties consider the development of the regional cooperation highly important, in the perspective of Slovakian presidency within the V4. However, they are willing to discuss actual European and international issues as well.