The EU is Helping More than Ever

The EU is Helping More than Ever

On Wednesday 29 April 2020, President Zuzana Čaputová spoke by telephone with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and later met with the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Ivan Korčok at the Presidential Palace. The president spoke with him about the European Union’s handling of the pandemic and economic aid. “The present crisis reminds us, amongst other things, how vital it is to be part of a broader community. The level of help that Slovakia is receiving from the European Union is unprecedented.” 

The Slovak president and the president of the European Commission agreed that European assistance was getting less attention than its size merited.  “We already have the green light to use more than four billion euros from EU funds to help our citizens and our economy”. There are also 37 billion euros of unspent EU budgetary funds from previous years that will be available to help Slovakia. The EU has set aside a further 100 billion euros for employees, companies and sole traders to protect jobs. “Our citizens will feel the benefit of this directly.”

The president reiterated that the EU is discussing a recovery fund that will help all the European economies get out of the crisis and remain healthy in future. “We agreed that it requires a degree of goodwill and willingness to compromise from every Member State. The aid under negotiation in this case is an enormous EUR 1.5 trillion, or 1,500 billion. The president also informed me about joint research on a coronavirus vaccine which will of course be shared equally with all countries.”

The irreplaceable role of the EU in the pandemic crisis was also a point of agreement between the president and the foreign minister. She also appreciated the fact that the government’s programme statement pointed to a clear and strong European and Euro-Atlantic orientation. “Slovakia should be seen as a partner and a good ally who keeps their word, whose politics are based on consistent values, and who is not just a passive consumer of decisions but an active contributor to their development. It has never been so evident as now how strongly policy on the European level affects us all. I strongly believe that there will be a return to a foreign policy consensus in Slovakia and I am ready to make an active contribution to that.”