Former Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. D. Kourkoulas in Bratislava as special guest speaker to the Interdepartmental Coordination Council for preparations of the Slovak EU Presidency (10.3.2015)
The status of preparations for the EU Council presidency and cooperation with the Netherlands and Malta on the future program of the Trio were the topics of the 7th meeting of the Interdepartmental Coordination Council for Preparations for the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council, led by Peter Javorčík, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
A special guest, Dimitrios Kourkoulas, who was the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister during the Greek presidency in the first half of 2014, addressed the introductory session.
“We consulted perhaps all presidencies of the past years and we are also using the Interdepartmental Coordination Council forum to gather and exchange experiences and allow all ministries to hear the exchanges,” explained the State Secretary.
Mr. Kourkoulas emphasized “a country’s image is not an abstract thing and has direct impact on areas such as the economy”, adding that “A good presidency, for that reason, is important not only for diplomacy and respective ministries but also for the entire country”.
One of the tasks for the ministries in the near future is their input for the program under preparation for the presiding Trio (the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta) to be finalized around November this year. According to State Secretary Javorčík, the program, in contrast with the work up until now, should have a more strategic content and a more striking form. “We want a document that will be shorter, eloquent and have a clear added value,” specified the State Secretary.
The Trio programme is expected to be structured along five priorities of the European Council’s Strategic Agenda, namely: stronger economies with more jobs; societies enabled to empower and protect; a secure energy and climate future; a trusted area of fundamental freedoms; and effective joint action in the world. The Trio’s program will be followed up by a more detailed “national” program with specific priorities of the Slovak presidency.
The Interdepartmental Coordination Council is a consultative body to the government for issues related to the forthcoming presidency. It guides activities of ministries in this area and discusses related materials.