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Slovak Prime Minister welcomed at Victoria Palace


Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico started his official visit paid to Romania on Tuesday, being received by Romanian Head of Government Victor Ponta. The welcoming ceremony took place at Victoria Palace where Robert Fico saluted the Guard and Protocol Regiment after the anthems of both countries were sung.

Slovakia is part of the Friends of the cohesion group along with Romania, pleading for maintaining a proper financing of the cohesion policy in the next multiannual financial framework of the EU. Wednesday, Prime Minister Victor Ponta will receive his Austrian counterpart.

'I would like to talk both to the Slovak Prime Minister today and to the Austrian Prime Minister tomorrow not only about our bilateral relations but about what we are supposed to talk in Europe, namely the future budget and the conditions important for Romania. Slovakia is part of the 'Friends of the cohesion,' the beneficiaries. Austria is a net contributor. We have got here two extremely important points of view and Romania must have allies during the upcoming talks,' said Victor Ponta on Tuesday morning in the beginning of the government meeting.


Robert Fico : Life forces us to know how to attract and use EU funds


The Slovakian Prime Minister, Robert Fico, underlined on Tuesday, during the meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the importance of funds received from the EU, estimating that these are the sole amounts his country will be able to use for investments.

'The rule according to which, if something is in addition, we do not know to appreciate it, is valid, but this should not be also valid in the case of money from the European Union. Life forces us to know to use it, to attract funds from the EU, especially for the period 2014-2020. It will be probably the only money that we can use for investments, so I fear only our slowness in the field of mechanisms to be implemented in order to draw the European funds. I do not trigger the signal for nothing about the role Mr. Premier has in respects of fund attraction. It is not a matter of skill. Given that 75 percent of the investments that are made in Slovakia come from these funds, it is our obligation, a life obligation, to fight for these funds ', Fico said.

Romania is behind Slovakia in what concerns the absorption capacity of EU funds, but both countries need greater investments in 2014-2020, made with funds provided under the Cohesion Policy, Prime Minister Victor Ponta pointed out in the joint press conference with his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico.

Premier Ponta said that Romania and Slovakia, countries part of the 'Friends of Cohesion' Group, wish to adopt a coordinated position, to get more funds under the next EU multiannual financial framework.

'One of the rules proposed by the president Van Rompuy is to cap allocations growth, and affects both countries - less Slovakia, more Romania - so that we are allies in what concerns the allocation of some larger amounts, as well as in improving the effective capacity to use this European money', Prime Minister Victor Ponta also said.

He congratulated his counterpart in Bratislava because Slovakia 'has clearly a better position than Romania' in the field of European funds absorption.



Ponta: Joining Euro zone, a fundamental goal of Romania


Romania's joining the Euro zone remains ‘a fundamental goal', but there is need to adopt such measures so that Romania should not face ‘difficulties' in adopting the European currency, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said after meeting visiting Slovak Premier Robert Fico on Tuesday.

'The issue is not the euro, but whether there is still the will in Europe to pursue with the European project. Romania keeps the fundamental goal of joining the Euro zone, but it must be ready from all viewpoints so as to not fact difficulties, as it happened with other states. /.../ I think Romania should join the Euro zone as soon as possible, the moment we are ready', Ponta stressed.

The Romanian Prime Minister added that, besides the issue of the Euro zone accession, there should be considered the need for a greater solidarity of the European Union members, also with respect to setting the 2014-2020 multi-annual budget outline, so that there should not be very great discrepancies among the EU members.

'There remains, beyond the euro, the matter of the European project. I am convinced that there is, in the future, need for more European construction, more solidarity, for a clear decision to focus on what is important for Europe, not only on the domestic matters. The discussion about the multi-annual financial mechanism is also a matter of principle. We cannot have a lower budget and more of Europe. We cannot have even greater gaps between the Western Europe countries and the EU newcomers,' Ponta said, adding: 'Romania and Slovakia, that lived through a communist era, are countries that believe in the European project'.

The Slovak Premier stressed he supports all the states wishing to join the Euro zone, as he believes the introduction of the single currency is ‘favourable'.

'It is not the euro project that has a problem. The problem is with some irresponsible states in the Euro zone, which have not met some criteria. Our experience (Slovakia's - editor's note) shows that introducing the euro currency is favourable for the country. You can, of course, say that there are some mechanisms that should be fulfilled and which are pretty difficult to fulfil, but we continue to believe in the euro project. As regards my personal experience, I'd like to say I support all the countries that wish to join the Euro zone to do so', Fico said.


Robert Fico reaffirms Slovakia's support to Romania's joining Schengen Area


Slovakia's PM Robert Fico said on Tuesday that his country backs up Romania and Bulgaria in their desire to join the Schengen Area.

In the end of his meeting with PM Victor Ponta, Robert Fico said he does not understand the reason why the two countries' access to the Schengen Space is delayed, given that all the technical terms have been fulfilled.

'We want to continue cooperating on the issue of Romania and Bulgaria's joining the Schengen Area. Slovakia has already joined it, and I can say that the quality of our citizens' life has improved. They travel across the Schengen Area without realizing when the cross the borders. I don't understand why sometimes several regulations are required than the technical conditions that must be met. Slovakia does not understand why Romania and Bulgaria fail joining the Schengen space sooner possible, as far as all the 11 technical conditions have been fulfilled, Romania and Bulgaria's citizens could benefit from these rights,' said Fico.


Slovakian PM has to shorten visit to Romania due to protests at home


Slovakia's PM Robert Fico had to shorten the official visit he is paying to Romania, on Tuesday, due to protests at home.

'I'm sorry I have to shorten my visit to Romania, today, as I must return and discuss matters related to the social situation in my country. This is why I want to apologize to Romania's Prime Minister because I had to shorten the time of our talks, as well as to Mr. President because I shall not be able to meet with him,' Robert Fico told a joint news conference with PM Victor Ponta.

The Slovakian human rights defending organizations protested on Monday against the pressure a judge put on the author of a film denouncing corruption of the Slovakian legal system, AFP informs.