Slovakia and the French and Czech EU Presidencies

The most impor­tant issue with­in the French EU-Pres­i­den­cy was the cli­mate and ener­gy pack­age. At the begin­ning of the pres­i­den­cy, Slo­va­kia with the oth­er new EU mem­ber states expressed dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the Commission’s eval­u­a­tion of emis­sions’ pro­duc­tion when it used the ref­er­ence data only from 2005 onwards.[1] Hun­gary, Slo­va­kia and oth­ers, record­ed a dra­mat­ic decrease in emis­sions in the 1990s due to their indus­tri­al reces­sion. Before the sum­mit, Prime Min­is­ter Fico declared the country’s sup­port with some reser­va­tions for the pack­age and appre­ci­at­ed the “con­struc­tive approach” of pres­i­dent Sarkozy.[2] Slo­va­kia con­sid­ered the sum­mit a suc­cess because the country’s pro­pos­al for addi­tion­al redis­tri­b­u­tion of emis­sion quo­tas was accept­ed and also the decrease in emis­sions from 1990 to 2005 would be tak­en into account. Dur­ing 2013–2020, Slo­va­kia should gain 500–800 mil­lion Euros every year through the increase in emis­sion per­mits. Prime Min­is­ter Fico also declared that the cli­mate-ener­gy pack­age should not influ­ence the ener­gy prices in Slo­va­kia as oth­er coun­tries worried.[3]

The Slo­vak MEP, Ire­na Belo­horská, mem­ber of the Con­fer­ence of Pres­i­dents of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, eval­u­at­ed the coop­er­a­tion of the French Pres­i­den­cy with the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment very pos­i­tive­ly. Pres­i­dent Sarkozy showed, accord­ing to Belo­horská, respect towards the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment when he reg­u­lar­ly invit­ed the Euro­pean Parliament’s lead­er­ship to con­sul­ta­tions. The Czech Pres­i­den­cy so far exhib­it­ed rather weak com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Euro­pean Parliament.[4] Oth­er Slo­vak MEPs were a lit­tle bit more crit­i­cal towards France’s pres­i­den­cy. For exam­ple, Ján Hudacký is wait­ing for prob­lems with the imple­men­ta­tion of the ener­gy and cli­mate pack­age due to the cur­rent eco­nom­ic crisis.[5] Gen­er­al­ly, Slovakia’s MEPs viewed efforts of the pres­i­den­cy to solve new con­flicts and prob­lems (Geor­gian con­flict and finan­cial cri­sis) were viewed pos­i­tive­ly. A dif­fer­ent, more crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tion of the French Pres­i­den­cy was pre­sent­ed in Slo­vak news­pa­pers. Most of them focused on the stale­mate in rat­i­fy­ing the Lis­bon Treaty and on the dom­i­nance of Pres­i­dent Sarkozy’s personality.

The return of nuclear pow­er as a poten­tial solu­tion for sus­tain­ing eco­nom­ic growth and guar­an­ty­ing ener­gy secu­ri­ty is an exam­ple of shared inter­est and coop­er­a­tion of both Slo­va­kia and the Czech Repub­lic. Strong ties were demon­strat­ed dur­ing the gas crises in Jan­u­ary 2009. The Czech Pres­i­den­cy was not only in reg­u­lar con­tact with the Slo­vak gov­ern­ment, but also gas had been sup­plied to Slo­va­kia through com­pa­nies and pipelines in the Czech Repub­lic before the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion deliv­ered gas to Slo­va­kia through Ukraine again. There­fore, coop­er­a­tion in the ener­gy sec­tor remains of high salience dur­ing the Czech Presidency.

 

 

 

[1] Trend: “Zápis­ník z Bruselu: Sloven­sko sa cíti poško­dené”, 10 July 2008.
[2] SITA: “Sloven­sko pod­porí kli­mat­icko-ener­get­ický balík s výhrada­mi”, 8 Decem­ber 2008.
[3] Aktuálne.sk: “Fico: Výsled­ky sum­mi­tu sú pre Sloven­sko úspe­chom”, 12 Decem­ber 2008.
[4] EurActiv.sk: “Belo­horská: České­mu predsed­níctvu chý­ba dosta­tok úcty voči iným”, 4 Feb­ru­ary 2009.
[5] HNonline.sk: “Anke­ta: Akou známk­ou by ste ohod­notili francúzske predsed­níct­vo v Rade EÚ?”, 11 Decem­ber 2008.