President Klaus Iohannis welcomed on Monday at the Cotroceni Palace Slovakian counterpart Andrej Kiska, who is paying a two-day state visit to Romania.
The welcoming ceremony took place on the official platform of the Cotroceni Palace, with the two national anthems being played, after which Slovakia’s President saluted the Guard and Protocol Regiment.
The two heads of state held one-on-one and official talks followed by a joint press statement.
A ceremony for the decoration of Romanian war veterans by the Slovak President also took place at the Cotroceni Place and then the two heads of state exchanged decorations.
“Your presence here is yet more proof of the solid relations of Romanian-Slovak friendship, of the excellent cooperation between our states. The moment of this visit is even more significant since during this period Slovakia is holding the Presidency of Council of the European Union.”
“Our good relations are based on historical and cultural similarities, and the presence of the Slovak minority in Romania, along with the presence of the Romanian community in Slovakia, substantially contributes to the development of ties between our people. The way in which the Slovak minority in Romania has kept its identity appropriately and concretely illustrates the Romanian intercultural model of relating to persons who belong to national minorities,” President Iohannis stated at the end of the official talks.
“We both noted that in 2015 the total value of bilateral trade reached 2.39 billion Euros, up by over 6 percent year-on-year, and the positive trend continued in 2016. The Romanian-Slovak Economic Forum, which will take place tomorrow, will surely transmit a strong signal of encouragement for the two countries’ economic but also investment environments. In our talks we also tackled cultural cooperation – in fact, the Program of Collaboration in the Cultural Domain 2016-2020 has just been signed,” President Iohannis emphasised.
The two Heads of State also tackled bilateral cooperation at European level, where the two countries have common interests and approaches.
“The informal summit in Bratislava, on September 16, launched a process of reflection on the direction in which we will point the European Union. We, Mr. President and I, have decided to continue to coordinate our stances on this issue,” Iohannis added. The President thanked his counterpart for the fact that Slovakia constantly supports Romania’s efforts to join the Schengen Area, adopting this position in a vocal and active way at European level.
“We also discussed aspects that concern the European Union’s near abroad and we agreed that a strategic approach is needed in what concerns the Eastern Partnership, injecting it with a new vision so that our partners would be stimulated to develop their relationship with the European Union.”
“At the same time,” Iohannis added, “we reaffirmed the importance Romania places on enhancing NATO’s capacity to respond to current security challenges, against the backdrop of developments in the Black Sea region, an important component of Euro-Atlantic security, particularly in the current context.”
He pointed out that the two Heads of State appreciated the usefulness of summits held by the Bucharest Format, which come to support the talks and processes taking place at NATO level. “Thus, we evoked the high-level summit of the Bucharest Format which will take place in the first part of next year, in order to evaluate the progress made in implementing the decision of this year’s Summit and in order to prepare the following year’s Summit,” the Romanian President added.
Andrej Kiska: Romania is a country with which we have a lot of things in common
“Romania is a country with which we have a lot of things in common and at bilateral level we have very good relations and, at the same time, we, Mr. President and I, are on the same page on very many occasions when discussing current global issues. Today’s world is not simple. We have things in common and this is important,” Slovak President Andrej Kiska stated at the end of official talks.
“In what concerns our bilateral relations, we are not only experiencing a period of extraordinary relations but we also have to look back into the past, and Slovakia will always remain thankful to Romania.”
Kiska also said that Slovakia and Romania are a happy economic example in the EU.
The Slovak President said he was happy to hear that Romania was a champion in the last half year, with a growth rate in excess of 5 percent and expecting a 4-percent growth rate in 2016. Slovakia, he said, also registered high growth and economically speaking is headed in the right direction. Romania also shows that economic growth can be linked to the fight against corruption, and Slovakia can learn a lot from Romania, said Kiska, adding that he has many times mentioned that.
At the same time, he stated that Romania will have Slovakia’s full support in becoming a member of the Schengen Area.
“Both our countries are also linked by the fact that, despite walking on slightly different paths, we found a way to respect the rights of national minorities, on the basis of international standards and at a very high level. I believe that, in this way, our countries tend to peace and I want to thank Romania and Mr. President, of course, both personally and on behalf of the Slovak minority I will visit tomorrow.”
“The Slovak minority in Nadlac is a bridge between Romania and Slovakia. I also talked with Mr. President about the situation in the European Union and we concluded that there is indeed a need to discuss and bear in mind the points we have in common before the European Union, to present the views so that any of us, when travelling anywhere in our countries, will have the support of the general public before the European Union, and these steps will be clear and will have some clear deadlines, in order for us to have concrete results,” the Slovak President concluded.
Slovakia’s President Kiska says EU’s migrant quota, unfortunate solution
President Andrej Kiska said the EU’s proposal of mandatory migrant quotas was an unfortunate solution and is a dead political theme.
At a joint news conference with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, Kiska said successful countries have moral obligations and have to display solidarity when it comes to migrant issues.
He said he is convinced as a president that the same as successful people morally have to help people in distress, so each successful country should consider how to help people fleeing death and horrors. It is a moral obligation of ours, he said, adding that solidarity is the second thing he would like to mention to the point. Both Romania and Slovakia share a common border with Ukraine. We can imagine, he said, that if a huge crisis emerged in Ukraine, with hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine fleeing into Slovakia from Ukraine, Slovakia will ask for help, will ask the rest of European countries for solidarity for a common solution, so we have to behave today in the same manner with the countries facing the migration crisis; in the name of solidarity, he added, the two countries should give a helping hand voluntarily.
In his turn, Iohannis said Romania is an active party in the quest for a migration solution, but the issue cannot be solved unless by going to the source.
“We still believe that migration is a problem that cannot be solved unless by going to the root of it; by Syria becoming pacified and by our partners and those not yet partners in Africa receiving substantive development aid. We also believe that Europe needs safe external borders and Romania is certainly playing a very positive part in this sense. We have proved, even lately, that we know very well how to defend the external borders of the EU, how to act in the case of fraudulent border crossing. I believe it is important for us in Europe to seek solutions that bring us back together. Migration and how we treat migrants have unfortunately become matters that divide Europe without brining any solution. We have to change our approach into a batter, shared, efficient one,” Iohannis concluded.