Last Week’s Major Political Happenings
22. apríla 2003

MONDAY, April 14

Dzurinda Says UK may Cancel Visas for Slovak Citizens before EU Entry

Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda told Slovak media in London that Great Britain might cancel visas for Slovak citizens even before Slovakia gains the EU membership. At their Monday meeting in London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair promised a repeated examination of this problem. Mr. Dzurinda underscored he was pleased by the promise of the British Prime Minister who said he would do everything necessary so that the British administration reevaluates the issue and cancels the visas before Slovakia’s entry into the European Union. The Prime Ministers also talked about when this could eventually happen but Mr. Dzurinda did not specify the timing.

Norway Ratifies Slovakia’s NATO Entry

After Canada, Norway is the second country to ratify the protocols on Slovakia’s accession to the North-Atlantic Treaty. Norway has traditionally been a strong supporter of NATO enlargement while the fast ratification process proves this support was sincere. The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Slovak Republic appreciates the historical decision by Norway and is certain that the ratification process will be free of any problems with other countries.

TUESDAY, April 15

President Signs Slovakia’s Accession to North-Atlantic Treaty

On Tuesday, Slovak President Rudolf Schuster signed the protocols on Slovakia’s accession to the North-Atlantic Treaty. The protocols were parliamentary approved last week. President’s signature on the NATO accession documents has completed the approval process in Slovakia. The country approved its membership in the alliance before NATO parliaments ratify it.

Simko Orders Army Engineers to Prepare for Possible Mission in Iraq

Defense Minister Ivan Simko has ordered to begin preparations of Slovak army engineers for possible deployment in Iraq. They should take part in the post-war reconstruction effort in the country, the minister told the press. However, Slovakia has not been yet officially requested to send its army engineers to Iraq. However, consultations are underway examining possibilities of current and future members of NATO in this field, Mr. Simko explained.

President Says Regions Need Infrastructure and Finances

Addressing the 13th congress of the Association of Towns and Villages (ZMOS), Slovak President Rudolf Schuster said that building infrastructure and public administration reform are crucial for regional development. He mentioned his recent visit to the United States, where he received several promises from American businessmen interested in investing in Slovakia. In his speech, Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said it is not the government’s interest to save money on regional governments. According to Mr. Dzurinda, public administration reform does not mean weakening the central government, but rather is maintaining a strong government with more participation from below.

Municipalities Fear a Deficit in Education of SKK 1 Billion this Year

Chairman of the Association of Towns and Villages (ZMOS) Michal Sykora warned that self-governments will lack approximately SKK 1 billion to finance schools. Addressing the 13th ZMOS congress, Mr. Sykora stressed that ZMOS had already warned about these problems even before adoption of the state budget, suggesting that the budget does not match real needs and is endangering the quality of public services.


Slovakia Signs Accession Agreement with the European Union

Along with nine other countries, Slovakia has signed the European Union accession agreement on Wednesday to wrap up a several-year long process of reunification of Europe. Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan and President Rudolf Schuster have confirmed the historical move by signing the agreement.

Petition for NATO Referendum will Continue Only Formally

Activists of the petition committee for a referendum on Slovakia’s NATO membership stopped collecting signatures. However, the committee will keep on receiving signed petition sheets. „We have not resigned, we just view the state of things in a realistic way,“ said Eduard Chmelar, chairman of the petition committee at a press conference on Wednesday. He said that the petition would continue formally as a gesture toward the people supporting the referendum.

Joint Statement of EU Ambassadors and Head of EU Delegation

In their joint statement, the European Union Ambassadors and the head of the European Delegation in Bratislava Eric van der Linden wrote „Today we salute the signing of the Accession Treaty of the European Union by Cyprus, the Czech republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. The statement reads that „this is a historic event in Athens, as it marks the end of the dividing lines of our continent.

Address of President Schuster at Slovakia Signing EU Accession Treaty

At the ceremony of Slovakia signing the European Union Accession Treaty, Slovak President Rudolf Schuster addressed the people of enlarged European family. President Schuster stressed that Europe is witnessing its reunification while he is immensely happy that Slovakia is part of the process.

THURSDAY, April 17

Lipsic Promises Protection for Judge Whose Car Was Set on Fire

Slovak Justice Minister Daniel Lipsic said that the recent attack aimed to intimidate a judge of the Bratislava District Court Ivona Halvonova shows that judges often have to show immense civil courage while performing their job. He stressed that „the government must secure their protection if we want judges to make just and lawful decisions.“

Police Clamp Down on Bratislava Gang of Pimps

Last night the police coordinated a raid on a Bratislava gang of pimp, which was part of the third largest underworld group operating in the Slovak capital, announced Police vice president Jaroslav Spisiak. The gang set up a call-girl business. They used violence to confine women in apartments. The women were beaten and forced to take drugs.

Czech and Slovak Justice Ministers Meet in Bratislava

Czech Minister of Justice Pavel Rychetsky told the media in Bratislava that the extradition process of convicted gangland boss Mikulas Cernak from the Czech Republic might take several months. He assured his Slovak counterpart Daniel Lipsic that all legal standard procedural arrangements have been met on the matter. He underscored that so far an extradition request by the Czech or Slovak justice minister has never been rejected.

ATHENS: Europe Wants to Be Zone of Peace, Stability and Democracy

The future Europe will be a place of peace, stability, prosperity and social development, heads of states and governments of forty of the old continent’s countries confirmed on Thursday in Athens. In a declaration aimed at determining the development of relationships in the enlarged European Union with neighbors in the Balkans and in the former Soviet Union, they undertook to respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and to harmonize laws.

Tento projekt je podporený z Európskeho sociálneho fondu


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