Ovi -
we cover every issue
newsletterNewsletter
subscribeSubscribe
contactContact
searchSearch
Stop human trafficking  
Ovi Bookshop - Free Ebook
Ovi Greece
Ovi Language
George Kalatzis - A Family Story 1924-1967
Stop violence against women
Tony Zuvela - Cartoons, Illustrations
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
 
BBC News :   - 
iBite :   - 
GermanGreekEnglishSpanishFinnishFrenchItalianPortugueseSwedish
Slovakian report Slovakian report
by Euro Reporter
2015-06-02 10:16:06
Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author
DeliciousRedditFacebookDigg! StumbleUpon

Slovakia raises concern about rising tensions in Ukraine

Slovakia's Deputy Prime Minister expects a "very firm and strong" response to any further advancement of military activities within neighbouring Ukraine and describes a new international era with "no defined rules." Visiting Australia, Miroslav Lajčák says there are many "worrying signals" about the already fragile ceasefire in Ukraine. A new video, released overnight, purports to show heavy shelling from weapons which would violate the ceasefire in the eastern village of Shyrokyne, close to the Russian border. Russia has also been flexing its military muscles, with a surprise mass drill in the country's north west. US President Barack Obama has accused Russia of an "increasingly aggressive posture" while NATO's Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, says Russia has been engaging in "nuclear sabre-rattling" in Ukraine and beyond, which he says is "unjustified, destabilising and dangerous." The Deputy Prime Minister of neighbour and NATO member Slovakia, Miroslav Lajčák, was in Ukraine last week prior to this week's tour of Australia. Also the nation's Foreign Minister, he says NATO and the European Union are united in concern about what is happening in Eastern Europe.

slovakia_400"If there is a further advancement of military activities there will be a very firm and strong response," he told SBS. "Russia already knows the price." "I really hope we will be talking (soon) about the political, diplomatic solution, rather than the next round of military actions." Miroslav Lajčák says Slovakia and Ukraine are friends, but he says there are "selfish" reasons to help its biggest neighbour become stable and prosperous. "We are assisting Ukraine, because we can offer an authentic experience. Slovakia is a transition success. We have been through many reforms, many challenges recently," the Minister said. The deputy Slovakian leader says the Ukraine crisis has caught Europe by surprise. "We got too complacent in Europe. We would never expect that there would be a real war so close to our borders in European soil. This is a big concern and it changes the overall political and security landscape in Europe." US President Barack Obama says it's a challenging time for NATO, Minister Lajčák goes further, saying the Ukraine crisis is a challenging issue for the entire international community. "It looks like we have come to the end of one era, the Post-Cold arrangement, and we have entered without knowing that, a new era with no defined rules." He says the "rules of the game" were quite clear during the Cold War, afterwards he says it was believed nations were striving for the similar democratic values, now he says "we have entered something new, less good, but we still don't know how to assess it, how to define it."

"I think it is a challenge for all politicians, and all international organisations such as the United Nations and the others to make sure that this new era protects our values and our people's interests." During talks in Canberra this week with Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, he discussed the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH-17 over rebel held territory eastern Ukraine last July. Ukraine and the West claim the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists with weapons supplied by Moscow. Russia firmly denies the charges. 298 people were killed in the disaster, including 38 Australians citizens and residents. "This downing of the plane made Australia part of that unfortunate conflict, of that terrible tragedy," said Miroslav Lajčák. "We have confidence that investigation will help us to establish the truth, and after that there has to be consequences  ... there are political consequences, there are moral consequences, there are legal consequences." "We will have to insist on revealing the full truth, and on insisting that those responsible will be punished." Australia and Slovakia, which assumes the Presidency of the European Union in the latter half of next year, have just signed a reciprocal agreement for youth holiday and work exchanges.

Under the arrangement, up to 200 young holidaying Australians and Slovaks will be allowed every year to undertake short term work and study in the other country. "We might be distant geographically, but today's world is, relatively speaking, shrinking. It is much easier to travel and even easier to communicate." "Australia is traditionally quite popular amongst Slovaks and well known. It has been for years one of the main destinations for our migration. We have a strong Slovakian community, Slovak diaspora here for many years. Some 15,000 Slovaks. It is part of the responsibility of my government to take care of them." Australian and Slovakian soldiers fought side by side in Afghanistan's Uruzgan Province, forming a strong bond and, according to Minister Lajcuk, a shared responsibility for the future of the country. "We want to make sure this was not a futile investment, we want to make sure this country will develop in a positive way," he said. "This is also a responsibility we share together. It also creates mutual trust, because we have seen we can rely on each other in very difficult conditions. I believe it is a very powerful message also for other activities we intend to undertake together." No matter what, Miroslav Lajčák promises Afghanistan won't be abandoned.

***********************************************************************

Slovakia opposes EU resettlement

PM Robert Fico labelled the European Commission’s plan for distributing immigrants from the Mediterranean across all EU member states as “very risky business”. 

The refugees coming to Europe for work or better life in general might bring “a wave of terrorism” with them, Fico told a May 27 press conference in reaction to the European Agenda on Migration, the first proposals of which were adopted on the same day in Brussels. 

The agenda counts on Slovakia to take in 1.96 percent of the migrants from the Mediterranean, namely 471 individuals from Italy and 314 from Greece. Many of them originally come from Syria and Eritrea.

On May 27, the EC for the first time applied its emergency response mechanism to assist Italy and Greece and relocate 40,000 people, mainly Syrian and Eritrean nationals, who arrived after April 15, over the next two years. The member states participating in the scheme will be entitled to financial support, with each state receiving €6,000 per resettled migrant. For Slovakia, this amounts to €4.71 million, the TASR newswire reported. Additionally, the EC adopted a recommendation asking member states to resettle 20,000 people from outside the EU in clear need of international protection.

***********************************************************************

Slovakia lacks appropriate policy

Migrants living in Slovakia still struggle when trying to integrate into Slovak society.  The country placed 34th of 38 countries evaluated in the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) 2015, published by the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) and the Brussels-based Migration Policy Group (MPG). It measures policies to integrate foreigners in all EU countries, plus Australia, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA. In the previous report from 2009 it also ranked poorly: placing 29th of 31 surveyed countries. “We often hear from our politicians that Slovakia is only a transit country, so we do not have to develop any policies as nobody wants to stay here,” sociologist Oľga Gyarfášová of the Institute for Public Affairs said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. The question is whether the low interest of migrants is not caused by the conditions in Slovakia, she added.

Though the migration and integration are described as a problem, it contributes to the society’s development, said Martina Sekulová of IVO. “Claiming allegiance to this value would significantly help with forming migration policies,” she added, as quoted by SITA. According to her, about one-third of migrants come from non-EU countries, especially from Ukraine, Serbia, Russia, Vietnam and China. Regarding the total population, they comprise only about 0.5 percent. The migration to Slovakia rose significantly after Slovakia joined the European Union and the Schengen Area, and especially after Romania and Bulgaria joined in 2007. The growth culminated in 2008 when it stood at some 9,000 people a year. However, it decreased with the start of the economic crisis and stabilised to about 5,000 annually, said Danuša Jurčová of Infostat.

The most frequent reasons for them to come are work, studies or family reunion, Zuzana Vatráľová, head of the office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), told The Slovak Spectator. Slovakia, however, still belongs to countries with a relatively low number of foreigners. In 2013 nearly 72,000 foreigners lived in the country, which was 1.3 percent of the total population. In the Czech Republic it was 4 percent, according to the Demographic Atlas publication. Slovakia adopted its concept of integration in 2009 and an integration policy in 2014, making it one of the last member states of the European Union to do so. It has not made big progress in promoting integration since 2007, when it first appeared in the MIPEX report, except for strengthening its anti-discrimination laws. However, only very few people know about their rights to take steps forward, the report reads.

 


       
Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author

Comments(0)
Get it off your chest
Name:
Comment:
 (comments policy)

© Copyright CHAMELEON PROJECT Tmi 2005-2008  -  Sitemap  -  Add to favourites  -  Link to Ovi
Privacy Policy  -  Contact  -  RSS Feeds  -  Search  -  Submissions  -  Subscribe  -  About Ovi